I wanted to sit this election out. I really did. I wasn't even going to register to vote. But then, as is so often the case, events conspired against me.
First, I was told that Barack Obama was the Messiah, the Second Coming. I looked at the cult of personality that surrounded Obama, the way his supporters had elevated him to some kind of deified icon, and that was enough to give me pause.
I looked at the people Obama hung around with - convicted crooks like Tony Rezko, racists like Jeremiah Wright, and former terrorists like Bill Ayers - and concluded that he was nothing more than a typical crooked Chicago politician. At best.
I watched at how his devoted followers turned into cheap thugs, trying to stamp out any discussion of issues that reflected poorly on the Chosen One. I wondered, not for the first time, what would happen to the Fairness Doctrine, and the future of free political speech, if Obama were elected.
I listened to what he said about Russia, about Iran and Iraq. I listened to his wife, talking about how "mean" the United States was, all the while mulling over how "mean" Obama's own followers were. I wondered if I really wanted as president someone who, in Jean Kirkpatrick's memorable words, would "blame America first."
I looked at Obama's record on abortion, and his attempt to cover it up. I wondered if I'd be able to live with myself if I didn't do something to try and stop this man from becoming president.
By the time the character assassination on Sarah Palin was in full swing, I'd already made up my mind.
You see, the Founders never intended for the presidency to become a cult of personality. Washington explicitly addressed this in his choice of the simple title, "Mr. President." They knew, as do we, that when a country bases its leadership on such a cult, only bad things can happen. They would have thought of men such as Caesar and the Sun King. We would reference Stalin and Lenin, Hitler and Mussolini and Mao and all those, regardless of political persuasion, who put themselves above any kind of law.
The problem with the cult of personality lies not just with the leader. In fact, I might venture that the major issue is with the leader's followers, who in their idolatry will tolerate any contradiction, any extreme, any action desired by their beloved. They often go two or three steps further, taking unilateral action on behalf of The One. This may not even be what the leader wants - but by that time he becomes powerless to control the passions of his own followers, who may even throw him over should they become convinced that he has betrayed his own ideals - or rather, the ideals which they have conceived for him. In Obama's remarkable arrogance I detect something of the man who thinks he can control the mob, that he can bend them to his every whim. This is not only foolish, it is dangerous. And this country cannot afford to have a fool for a president.
And so it's come to this. Longtime readers know I've never been enthusiastic about John McCain. In fact, I've even questioned his desire to become president. I'm not sure I'd like John McCain's America all that much. (Although if his choice of running mates means anything, I may have underestimated the old boy.)
But I do know this: while I might be disappointed by John McCain's America, I'm absolutely terrified by Barack Obama's America. (As a note to any of you out there who might be wondering, it has nothing at all to do with him being black, and everything to do with him being liberal, egotistical, inexperienced, anti-American, etc.)
So here I am, almost against my will. As you can see from our endorsement button at the bottom of the sidebar, I've come over to McCain's side - even if, as Whittaker Chambers put it, I'm joining the losing side. But I'm not so sure about that. I still have an abiding faith, perhaps somewhat misplaced to be sure, in the great experiment that is America, and in her people. I have faith that, when push comes to shove, they're going to reject the man who, as Fred Thompson said last night, is the most liberal, most inexperienced man ever nominated for president. They're going to turn aside a man who wants to dismantle the American heritage and remake it in his own likeness: that of the blame America crowd, of a liberalism that borders on socialism, of an inhumanity toward the unborn, of a man whose supporters frown on free speech. A man and campaign, in short, that represents the darkness that lies beneath the surface of America. I still believe the American people will turn away from it before it's too late.
At least, I hope and pray that is so. That's about all any of us can do.