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Reflections on the 2012 GOP Nomination

The race for the GOP presidential nomination has been a significant part of my life over the past nine months or so. I decided to get involved in the political process when I saw that there was a candidate running for that position that I could truly support, one who has integrity and who has consistently stood up for my values and who had an effective campaign strategy and the resources to see it through all the way. The purpose of this paragraph isn't to convince you of Ron Paul's worthiness, but to establish that he was my candidate of choice.

The process in a caucusing state such as Colorado is that you attend your precinct caucus and then you run as a delegate to the county Assembly or caucus, and from there you run as a delegate to the State and Congressional District Assemblies, and from there, the GOP National Convention which is currently going on in Tampa, Florida. The purpose of the delegates at each level is to help shape the Republican Party platform and rules and to select the delegates who will move on to the next level and ultimately, at the national level, cast their votes for the presidential candidate.

I made it all the way up as a delegate to the state assembly and out of the 36 national delegates, eight of them turned out to be solid Ron Paul supporters.

Fraud, fraud, and more fraud

It was at the State Assembly that I witnessed a small portion of the fraud that the Republican Party and the Romney campaign perpetrated. I saw the fake delegate slates, where Romney people lifted the logos from various groups that had put together slates of delegates but replaced the groups' delegates with Romney delegates. The litany of fraud(1) that was perpetrated in every state to give Romney an unfair advantage is a long one.

At the National Convention itself the fraud continued and intensified. Here are a few articles chronicling what happened: GOP Destroys Integrity of National Convention(2), Romney's RNC Power Grab(3), Party Leaders Trample Their Grassroots in Tampa(4). The eight Colorado delegates who were going to vote for Ron Paul were disenfranchised in a way that so far no one really understands. The entire Colorado delegation voted to have someone other than Ryan Call, the state party chair, lead the delegation. But somehow Call ended up as the delegation chair anyway, and used his power to turn in a block vote where all the Colorado delegates voted for Romney. I'm sure the Ron Paul delegates made enough of a fuss because what he actually did was call in 28 votes for Romney and eight abstained votes. In other words, months of hard work supporting my candidate only to have my delegates' votes not count. Many other states have similar stories, some of which are mentioned in the above articles.

Mitt Romney got the nomination, which everyone expected would happen.

Within three weeks of the national convention the GOP is suing to get the Libertarian and Constitution Party presidential candidates off the ballots in a number of states(5). Even in places where there isn't a hint of possible fraud the GOP is suing simply because it knows the third parties cannot afford to mount an all out legal defense. Bullying, pure and simple.

The high price of the GOP "We must beat Obama" rhetoric

From the beginning, the mantra I've heard at every Republican caucus and assembly I have attended has been about party unity. We have to get behind the final choice of nominee or we will for sure hand the country back to Obama, and all kinds of horrendous things (none of which I doubt) will ensue.

It's one thing to work really hard on behalf of your candidate and lose in a fair competition. It's a whole other matter when your candidate's primary opponent cheated his way to victory. To have Romney and his supporters turn around and expect Ron Paul's supporters to rally behind him for the perceived greater good of defeating Obama is disingenuous at best. Except for the part about supporting the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson (which I'm undecided on at this point), this article titled I know when I'm not wanted(6) very closely expresses my own attitude about voting for Romney under these circumstances.

But leaving that aside, let's talk about the greater good of beating Obama. I believe Obama has already done terrible things for the country and will continue to do awful things in a second term. I believe he has set things up very well for martial law and tyranny to be established, and we very well may get those things in the next four years. NDAA, surveillance drones, CISPA, Monsanto people in positions of regulating the food and drug supply, Obamacare with its included persecution of the Catholic Church, and countless other things all point to one thing–tyranny. I'm not trying to prove that Obama is a tyrant in the making, but merely establish that I believe this. The possibility of defeating Obama in November's election was a huge reason I got involved. I believed Ron Paul could do it. I also believed that Ron Paul would as president strike from the law all the unconstitutional nonsense that Obama and his predecessors had passed.

I'm not the only one who believes Obama is leading us in a very bad direction. Many of my fellow Christians (both Catholic and Protestant) and conservatives believe this as well, and the fear is palpable. The basic message is that we must defeat Obama at any price, including that of holding our nose and voting for Romney.

I don't know anyone who actually likes Romney. Most of my Christian and conservative friends were pretty taken by Santorum when he was still running, and many more were excited about Ron Paul. And a few of my Liberal and nonchristian friends were also excited about Ron Paul. When people gave a reason to select Romney, it was always a calculated choice based on the belief that only Romney could defeat Obama. In other words, it was a choice against Obama, not for Romney.

Support for Romney grew once Santorum and Gingrich dropped out of the race and it became likely that Ron Paul was not going to come up with the number of delegates he would need to win the nomination. At that point the idea of voting for anyone else in the general election, such as writing in Ron Paul or voting for Gary Johnson came to be viewed as voting for Obama and for all the horrendous evil attributed to him.

Catholic Blogger Mark Shea(7) is one of the few prominent Catholic voices in the US questioning the validity of voting for the lesser of two evils, and spending about a half hour reading the comments on his page will tell you all you need to know. If you so much as raise concerns about voting for Romney, as he has, you get accused of betraying the unborn babies and voting for Obama and actually wanting him to win and all the evil he will do to ensue, or of not understanding the dire situation we are facing as a nation. It can be brutal out there. Yes, Obama is pro-abortion. He has made no secret of it, and for this reason alone, voting for him is not an option for practicing Catholics. There is no danger of me casting my vote for Obama.

But Romney is not the pro-life statesman he is apparently claiming to be(8,9). While he was governor of Massachussetts, he actually required Catholic hospitals in the state to supply Plan B, a known abortifacient drug(10). He also owned controlling interest in a company called Stericycle, which specialized in disposing of medical waste(11), and it made the rounds of abortion clinics, and profited quite handsomely. Romney profited off the abortion industry. More recently, he attended a fundraiser at the home of the manufacturer of Plan B, also known as the morning after pill, even changing the venue from the home of a less controversial corporate executive(12).

In my mind, all these actions which make up Romney's record(13) speak far louder than whatever rhetoric he is using today to further his political career. Mitt Romney is a pro-abortion candidate. Based on this issue, I cannot vote for him either. Related to this, another prominent Catholic, Alan Keyes, has weighed in on the ramifications of remaining silent on Romney's true record on abortion and other moral issues in service of defeating Obama with the perceived lesser of two evils(14).

You could chalk up fraud to “this is how politics is done, this is how the game is played.” But killing babies is killing babies. You know what the Bible says about Satan, that he's a liar and a murderer. When you see prominent people deeply involved in lying and murder, it's not a horrendous leap of logic or discernment to suspect that they are not being inspired by God or Godly values.

Christian capitulation

I'm actually not terribly surprised or bothered by what Romney has done in his life nor by the massive fraud he has committed to win the nomination, nor by the way he is totally mocking and playing the Christian and Conservative base who is clinging to him for dear life because he is their only hope against Obama. We live in a fallen world and unredeemed people do evil things and the impact of their actions is magnified by the power they have. The Psalms are filled with prayers asking God why the wicked prosper and when will He punish them. This sort of thing has been going on for a long time.

What bothers me, no breaks my heart, about this whole election season is the way so many of my fellow Christians have responded to blatant, in your face evil on the part of their candidate. It is literally all excused for one simple reason: Romney is running against Obama. As long as Obama's evil is perceived to be greater than Romney's evil, then Romney's evil is excusable and acceptable. Not only are we looking towards man (rather than God) to save us from a fearful future, we are about to hitch our wagons to a man who supports evil that we ourselves abhor.

I think about the Israelites having just escaped from slavery in Egypt. Pharaoh has commanded the Egyptian army to pursue them and finally catches up with them on the banks of the Red Sea. The Israelites are stuck between an army that will slay them and a sea that will drown them. They complain to God for leading them to this predicament.

We are worse than the grumbling Israelites. We do not even complain to God. Instead we simply assume that we have to choose between two deadly options. Let's see, should we vote for the Red Sea or the Egyptian army? We choose the Red Sea, because after all, there is the chance that we could tread water, do the dead man's float and swim long enough to find a piece of driftwood to cling to and then maybe someone, maybe even God, will rescue us. Whenever someone raises a concern about the Red Sea option, we accuse them of choosing the army that actually wants to kill us, we accuse them of harboring a secret love for the army, and insist that they get in line and vote for the Red Sea for the sake of saving the entire nation. We have never considered that God may have a better way, and all we need to do is trust Him.

Mark Shea has written an excellent article about the actual impact of your vote in this election(15). The impact on the election itself is miniscule. However, the impact on your soul is huge. I'm not saying that voting for either Obama or Romney is a damnable offense for every single person. I am saying that each Christian voter needs to consider why they are voting the way they plan to vote. Where are we placing our trust? Are we so afraid of tyranny under Obama that we are willing to hitch our wagon to Romney in the hopes of dodging that bullet? That we're not willing to consider that we could just as likely get tyranny under Romney? Is it our fear ruling us or our faith?

When I read comments urging people to vote for Romney for the sake of the unborn babies or for the sake of avoiding tyranny, when I see people's flat out refusal to even consider legitimate concerns raised about Romney's record, instead accusing the one who raised the concerns of not understanding the seriousness of the situation or being complicit in the evil of Obama if they don't fall in line and vote for Romney, what I see is a lot of fear and a distinct lack of faith. I'm not guiltless in the matter and I'm not trying to point the finger, but I am deeply saddened by what I see. How can we be God's people if we won't even trust Him? If we insist that we have to buckle down and choose between the army and the Red Sea?

When God intervenes

In the case of the Israelites, God did intervene miraculously. He parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could get through safely and when the Egyptian army pursued them, He caused the Sea to flow back together and drown them all.

There is another time in the Bible when God did not intervene in such a favorable way. I am slowly working my way through the Book of Jeremiah. The basic story is that God's people had ceased to follow Him and had instead turned to idolatry, the worship of false gods, which could also be defined as anything we place a higher importance on than God. The consequences of the people's infidelity was to be conquered by the Babylonians and exiled for a period of seventy years. Jeremiah was the one chosen by God to inform the people of this turn of events as well as prepare them for that time of suffering. God even went so far as to tell the people through Jeremiah to not resist the conquerors or fight against being exiled but rather to live at peace and serve the people in the land they were exiled to. Needless to say, the Israelites did not want to hear what Jeremiah had to say and they most certainly did resist the inevitable, even going so far as to ally themselves with Egypt in the hopes of defeating the Babylonians. It didn't work and they ended up in exile for seventy years just as God had promised.

Why would God choose to have His people whom He loved conquered and exiled? The simple answer is that He saw that suffering as the best way to refine them and turn their hearts away from their idols and back to Him.

The question that burns in my own mind and heart is this: Have we, like the Israelites, turned away from God and bowed down instead to idols? Are we now looking to our idols to save us? If that is the case, then I could totally see it being God's will to allow us to enter into a period of great suffering characterized by tyranny (and whatever else we most fear under an Obama second term). If that is the case, what we need to do is basically the same as what the Israelites needed to do when they were stuck between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea, trust and obey God.

I am not a prophet, not do I have any particular knowledge about what the future holds. I do see fruit not only in our leaders that we will vote on in November but also in myself and in my fellow believers that is not good, that is not normally associated with the Holy Spirit, and that fruit is manifesting itself in many of my fellow believers' responses to the political situation of today. And it deeply troubles me.

Trusting God

Mainly I wanted to get all this off my chest because quite honestly I want to be done with politics. I am glad that I got involved when I did because no matter what happens I know that I have done what I can to resist evil. I have certainly not been blameless or perfect, but I saw a problem and a potential solution and I put my heart and soul into trying to advance the cause of righteousness in our nation through the political process. And I did try as much as possible to trust God with the ultimate outcome, even if that outcome will involve judgment and suffering. I prayed every day in the time leading up to the Republican National Convention that God's will would be done there and that the outcome will lead to a great harvest of souls. Now I have to trust that in ways I do not fully understand God has answered and will continue to answer my prayers.

Perhaps we will find it inside us to trust that God really could have another option besides the army and the Red Sea. Perhaps we will only find that trust inside us after we go through a period of refinement. But in the end, if we find our relationship with God restored, and if we can help in the restoration of many other people's relationship with God, then it will have all been worth it.

Footnotes


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