By Selwyn Duke
Man's propensity for rationalization is truly amazing. I know of a couple of men of faith who, even shortly before the election when an Obama victory was a given, were in denial and predicting a McCain win. And these are true believers -- not in the faux messiah-in-chief but in the real God -- people to whom Truth is paramount. Sometimes it's hard to stare reality right in the face.
Now, after the election, a different kind of rationalization is apparent. I've noticed that many moderates and even conservatives have high hopes for Obama, and a recent poll showed that 80 percent of the population approves of the way the presidential transition is being handled.
You may say that this isn't surprising, as many Americans don't really know what the man stands for because of their own lack of attentiveness and media spin. This is true, but there is another factor: That denial.
I heard a good example of this while listening to Michael Savage's show on Tuesday. He asked listeners to call in and express their deepest hopes and fears relating to Obama, and I remember one man in particular. He said his hope is that Obama will pull us out of the current recession, but, when Savage asked him how the president could accomplish that, he said he had no idea. Nevertheless, a very emphatic refrain of his while on the air was "Come on, give the man a chance!"
It was my sense that the man wanted to believe the sun would come out tomorrow. And, certainly, many would say that his request was quite reasonable. Doesn't everyone deserve a chance?
This is where I could be snide and say that I'll give him as much of a chance as the left gave Bush lo these many years. But I always do try and be fair. This is why I can truthfully say that Obama already had his chance -- he had numerous ones, in fact.
He had his chance in the Illinois Senate when he encouraged abortion and tolerated infanticide. He had his chance when choosing a church to attend for two decades and when he allied himself with Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko. He had his chance when he compiled the most left-wing voting record in the U.S. Senate in 2007. He had chance after chance after chance after chance and consistently showed his true colors, and they all happen to be shades of red. Yet, America still took a chance.
Now, I also know someone who is praying for Obama. Although she is under no illusions, she is hoping that God will change his heart and enlighten his mind. And being a man of faith, I'd be the last person to pooh-pooh such a thing; miracles do occur. But God also gives us free will, and Obama has exercised his in a way indicating that the guidance he receives is not ethereal in nature. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and I don't expect this leopard to change his spots.
Yet, it's man's nature to want hope. So many people want so very badly to believe that somehow, some way things will be all right after all. This is dangerous, however, because sometimes people's desire to find hope can cause them to follow a pied piper off the edge of a cliff.
As the title of a book says, hope is not a strategy. But it can blind people to reality and, therefore, to what their strategy should be. This is why I'd rather stare hard truths straight in the eye. The emotional bailout of rationalization may be appealing at the moment, but, like our financial bailouts, it just postpones the day of reckoning.
© 2008 Selwyn Duke -- All Rights Reserved