How fine is the line between victory and defeat? If the path of a St. Louis batter’s ground ball just after midnight on Oct. 13 had been a few inches to the left, Washington’s shortstop would have scooped it up and thrown to first for the final out—and the Nationals would have won the series. In several tight, nationally significant races on Nov. 6, U.S. senators and aspirants will be hoping that one out of a hundred voters flips their way. (See Senate races to watch.)
As the battle of Gettysburg at one point hinged on the leadership of future Maine governor Joshua Chamberlain at Little Round Top, so control of the Senate may hinge on one triangular contest in Maine. As passage of Obamacare in 2010 depended on the gullibility of several pro-life Democrats—an executive order restricting use of federal funds for abortion has big loopholes and can be rescinded by any president at any time for any reason—so most voters decide on House of Representative candidates without much information about their character and intelligence. (See House races to watch.)
In other words, an election within a tightly divided nation is from a materialist standpoint a crapshoot, and from a Christian worldview perspective one that inquires intense prayer along with trust in God’s providential guidance of all that happens. That’s especially the case in our high-stakes presidential election: The outcome in 10 or so battleground states will decide the election, and the final decision of five out of 100 voters—the wavering “undecideds”—will decide whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney wins those states. And on what basis will the waverers decide? A commercial full of distortions? A candidate’s grimace or smile? Voters’ digestion?
Many quote Winston Churchill’s line in 1947, “Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others,” but Churchill himself was quoting some older wisdom. What he did say three years earlier in the House of Commons was this: “At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper—no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point.”
Along with presidential, Senate, and House races this year, we have important gubernatorial and referenda battles. (See "Revenge of the over-regulated" and "Taking the initiative.") With fear and trembling we can report that all of them depend on fallen and sinful individuals, with all the quirky reasoning at our command, marking ballots. The consolation in all this is not a little cross on paper but the wooden cross on a hill 2,000 years ago, and the knowledge that Christ died for us in our arrogance and folly and evil inclinations. Faith in democracy, the Founders, and even America itself is insufficient. We need faith in God.