Well the good news is that the election is over and other topics will presumably soon be discussed again on the US blogs (after a fair amount of gnashing of teeth I imagine). I'd been getting really really sick of the campaign, notwithstanding its importance for us all!
The bad news is, well, Obama won.
Bad from a Catholic perspective because he seems set to be the most aggressively anti-life President yet, and his election ends any prospect of overturning Roe v Wade through appropriate appointments to the the US Supreme Court.
Mind you, I have my doubts about whether McCain would have been dramatically better, his own track record was rather spotty, and who knows how much influence Palin would really have had...
Crikey reports for example, that in Colorado, proposition 48 -- personhood beginning at conception -- was defeated 75 to 25. The only positive is that proposition 8 -- banning gay marriage in California -- is leading 56 to 44.
OK, that's the bad news. Those hoping for a pro-Republican slant should stop reading now (you have been warned).
The good news is that Obama won...
We shouldn't really be surprised that in the end, economics and the hip pocket effect proved more potent than cultural and moral issues, or at least the cultural and moral issues we think people should care more about! The reality is that the arguments and tactics being used today by pro-life forces are simply not having the impact needed. We haven't been able to persuade even the majority of nominal catholics that abortion outweighs all other issues, so how can we hope to succeed more widely? Some serious rethinking is needed.
In any case, I heard one commentator claiming that McCain lost the election when he fluffed the question of what to do over the economic crisis, and I think that is a fair call.
I don't think we can blame all those voters as acting solely on the basis of greed. In fact Obama has been proclaiming a more community oriented, mutual-support ethos in response, and I think that has some merit.
And I have to admit that while I have major reservations about President-elect Obama, and not just on life issues, I have a strong sympathy with those who got to vote and wanted change.
The reality is that the Bush administration has been a disaster for both America and the world, failing to lay any groundwork for America's changing role in the world, and serving only to create increased tensions internationally. Relations between Russia and its neighbours make the risk of a nuclear conflagration more possible than at any time since the end of the cold war. The Iraq War has proved disastrous for the Christians who once lived there, and doesn't seem to have solved a thing. Tensions with China have escalated. And McCain couldn't really articulate how he would be very different.
On economics, the conservative paradigm that we should just let the markets work has been well and truly proven wrong once again. The worrying thing is the way the bailouts, guarantees and, in Australia's case interest rate cuts, are being structured in such a way as to perpetuate some of the underlying problems rather than solve them. How can it be helpful, for example, to allow the banks to use the proceeds from interest rate reductions to swallow up their competitors, rather than pass the full cuts on to consumers? Doesn't this just lead to more foreclosures?
The hope now has to be that we will see some out of the box thinking in the US and elsewhere occurring on a wide range of issues, and that not of all of this will prove bad.
Obama certainly gave a pretty nice acceptance speech (a few PC moments aside).
Well, we can pray.