This is not an article for those who are unabashedly in love with democracy, who look forward to election year with patriotic zeal directed first of all to the nation and second of all to one of the political parties. I write instead for the genuinely dispossessed: for those who feel deep in their bones that the entire political process is a sham; who think that our country, whatever its previous merits, is accelerating in a decades-long slide; who grant that Americans enjoy great blessings, but do so in the midst of self-inflicted moral and spiritual deprivations; who believe that voting for either candidate is merely a decision about the handbasket in which to ride to hell. In short, I write for those who, faced with the prospect of choosing between President George W. Bush or Senator John Kerry, are nearly in despair about democracy and who are consequently planning to skip the whole sordid affair rather than soil their consciences.
To those thus afflicted I say, �Cheer up and vote.� Politics is always a sad compromise. If you�re waiting for the perfect political regime and the perfect political candidate before you vote, you�re expecting divine things from the merely human. This is a fallen world. There never has been a perfect political regime; there never will be. America is no exception. But since no one is ever born into a perfect regime, then we shall be judged only by how well we acted amid whatever imperfections fall to our historical lot. We shall therefore be judged, in part, on our voting record. So come, friends, let us reason together, and see things from the proper perspective.
If you have a chance, go ahead and pick up an old fashioned, honest-to-goodness paper copy of Crisis this month as well (you remember paper, don’t you?). H.W. Crocker’s article on American Imperialism alone is worth the cover price. Crocker is a great writer; sort of a Catholic P.J. O’Rourke (oh, wait, P.J. O’Rourke is Catholic . . . oops). His (Crocker’s, not O’Rourke’s) history of Catholicism, Triumph, is a true must-read.