Disaster looms before us — or so candidates are fond of telling us.  They tell us how important it is to vote them, how important it is for them to win the election.  Sometimes there is a grain of truth in their excited claims.  Politics involves more than just fund raising and getting out the vote.

Consider the major events in recent memory.  Let’s start at 1960.  There are several websites that provide timelines.  This one here provides a nice presentation.  The one here includes obnoxious ads.  This one here is brought to you by The Smithsonian Institution.  Wikipedia, of course, has one here.  And this one here is simply a detailed list. 

What were the most significant milestone events?  Here are some I think merit attention.

  • Civil Rights Movement:  1960 – 1965.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis:  1962.
  • The Vietnam War:  1963 – 1973.
  • Hippie Movement:  1966 – 1969.
  • The First Man on the Moon:  1969.
  • Watergate!  Gerald Ford becomes president:  1973.
  • Iranians seize the American Embassy in Tehran:  1979 – 1981.
  • Stars Wars: 1983 – ?.
  • First Persian Gulf War:  1990.
  • Cold War Officially Ends:  1992.
  • Impeachment and Trial of the President: 1998.
  • World Trade Center Destroyed:  2001
  • Second Persian Gulf War:  2003.
  • The Occupation of Iraq : 2003 – ?.
  • Hurricane Katrina Slams Into Louisiana and Mississippi:  2005.

What do these milestones tell us?  When the subject is government, what memories do these milestones bring to your mind?  Do you remember how your elected leaders used force to resolve disputes?   Can you not see how these milestones relate to battles we have had amongst ourselves and with the peoples of other nations?

What did our elected leaders do?  Try to imagine the Civil Rights movement without Alabama Governor George Wallace and his “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.”   What would have happened if President John Kennedy had not integrated Alabama schools using federal marshals? 

What was the premier conflict of the era?  Was it not the Cold War?  That conflict followed in the foot steps of that monumental disaster we call World War II.  To their surprise, each superpower found itself paralyzed in a fragile standoff.  We called this standoff Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), but MAD though it might be, conflict continued.  The disastrous war that might have been fragmented into numerous small conflicts, the Vietnam War being the largest. 

Our elected leaders led the fight to bring the Cold War to a conclusion.  To prove to the USSR we could destroy them, President Kennedy took up the space race, and we landed the first man on the moon.  Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon led the struggle to win the Vietnam War, and they found themselves embroiled at home in conflict over the war.  The Cold War did not end until the presidency of Ronald Reagan.  Was Star Wars responsible or mere weariness?   Whatever the case, with surprisingly little fuss, the USSR collapsed, and Russia withdrew to its old borders.

Without an enemy abroad, the conflict at home, the Culture War, became supremely ascendant.  Unable to exercise sufficient self control, President William Clinton found his presidency assailed and overwhelmed on all sides.  

What is the Culture War?  The Culture War is a type of civil war.  What is it about?  It is about religion and ethics.  It is about the character of our nation.  It is about the uses to which we put government.

What event marks the beginnings of the Culture War?  When will it end?  How has it changed us?  How will it change our children?  Such are the subject of the debate.  Nonetheless, there is no doubt Culture War battles roiled the Clinton presidency and continue during the presidency of George Bush.  The destruction of the World Trade Center brought only a short moment of respite.  The invasion of Iraq brought almost no respite at all.

What event will mark the next milestone in the timeline of American history?  Which constituencies will “win” the Culture War?  Who will be our next great enemy abroad?  Will we choose to be our own worse enemy?  Only with the passage of time will we even begin to know.  

In November of 2008, we will have an election.  Think about the choices.  If government is about the use of force to resolve conflicts, then we are choosing war commanders.   In the battles to come, we will be the foot soldiers. 

Just as did soldiers during the Civil War, we elect our commanders.  We decide who we want to lead us in our disputes with those abroad — and with each other.  To survive as a People and as a nation, we must be wise in our choices.  What our leaders promised us during their campaigns will matter little; it is their character — what God they honor — that will matter much.  Just as soldiers have always done, we will carry arms into battle, we will fight, and we will bear the consequences.  If we elect leaders who take pride in their power, they will spend our freedom and our blood with disdain.  If we elect leaders who love God and their fellow man, we may rightly take hope in the belief that God will honor our choice.

When November of 2008 comes, we in Gainesville, Virginia, will vote to choose a president, a senator, and a congressman.  In future posts, this blog will discuss the candidates with respect the following issues.

  • Education – Ostensibly, the Federal Government has no role with respect to education. Unfortunately, the lack of constitutional authority does not seem to stop elected officials from spending money and issuing mandates.
  • Law – Our leaders should understand the law and be willing to live within the law. Our leaders should take the lead in protecting our rights, particularly freedom of religion, the cornerstone of American Law.
  • Foreign Policy – The world has become a small place.  Our economy depends upon our relationships with other nations.  To deter potential aggressors, it is imperative that we have a strong military and an ethical strategy designed to protect our vital national interests.
  • Immigration – Our nation is being slowly overrun by poor, uneducated, illegal immigrants. Since most of these people come from Spanish speaking nations to the south of us, our nation is being balkanized into different language and economic groups.  What that portends for the future is civil strife.
  • Limited Government – Too many of our leaders makes promise to hand us other people’s money.  Anybody who will rob Peter to pay Paul cannot be trusted not to rob Tom too.
  • The Environment – A clean environment is a fundamental right. To protect the environment, we need a strong environmental policy.  Our government must punish polluters when they dump pollutants into our environment.
  • Welfare – Welfare is about politicians buying us with our own money.  Perhaps the principle way politicians violate the Constitution is when we take a bribe.
  • The Economy – Because none of us know enough to run everybody else’s business, government must have a limited role in the economy. What government can and must do is regulate economic activity.
  • Candidate Website – Any candidate fit to run our nation should be able to set up a decent campaign website. That candidate should also be forthcoming about his record and what he intends to do if he is elected.
  • Personal Life – Character makes a difference. If we want our nation to strive for high ideals, then the person we select to lead us must b honorable and trustworthy.


  1. “If we want our nation to strive for high ideals, then the person we select to lead us must b honorable and trustworthy. ”

    Ha! Good luck finding that. (Oh…am I being jaded again?) 😉


  2. Tom, I don’t even know where to BEGIN with all this, except to say that I put the Smithsonian history timeline on my blog link list (great resource).

    I think I will focus on culture wars and how they extend to international war. Maybe not. I have a head cold and can’t think straight at the moment. Get back to you later, probably on another windy post at my blog : )

    For now, all I can say is I don’t want to elect people whose God is money or lust for power or violence.


  3. I really want to read this more thoroughly, but don’t forget the floods in Iowa. People seem to be complaining that these are not getting enough attention like Katrina did.


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