On the eve of the 2016 election, I thought America was done as a constitutional republic. I simply did not see how the country could avoid completing the project that Barack Obama kick-started.
While maintaining the appearance of democracy, America was doomed to descend into Marxist-styled authoritarianism with eight years of Hillary Clinton on the docket.
President Trump's shocking election delayed that infernal outcome, which is why the reaction to him was as fierce as it was over the next four years. He postponed the final steps in the transformation from America the Beautiful into America the Canceled. But, even during the early years of Trump's term, with the toxic culture in place, it always seemed as though it would merely delay the descent.
The release of COVID gave the cultural Marxists the environment they needed to rig the game and to set conditions for permanent power. That's what we just watched play out during the midterms.
The biggest silver lining for me in contemplating the election is that perhaps this is what American needs to reverse the course that it is on. In the short term, Americans will experience horrific levels of pain and despair, which is heart-wrenching.
For the foreseeable future, not only won't life get better; it will get far worse. As the character of Thomas Andrews said in Titanic when told that the ship surely couldn't sink, "I assure you, she can. And she will. It is a mathematical certainty."
America is now like that ship. To avoid that pain, America would have to radically change course, and that is not going to happen any time soon.
The response to the worsening conditions will be ever louder demonization, demagoguery, persecution, and injustice.
In two years, the energy-starved economy will be in tatters, the national debt bomb that may already be beyond defusing will be even bigger (and perhaps will have even gone off, to catastrophic global effect), and the world will be a far more brutish and dangerous place.
This is not to argue that we should succumb to despair. Quite the contrary. We should embrace this moment. Like Paul and Silas in prison, we should rejoice at the opportunity.
My daughter mentioned to me that during her Constitution class at Hillsdale College the day after the election, her professor said something to this effect: "You guys all look like someone shot your dog. Lighten up. This is the day the Lord has made."
Great advice. That's the attitude we should have: an attitude of thanksgiving for the blessings we've experienced and a hopeful desire and willing spirit to advance God's kingdom.
While the political and cultural rot that led to this moment was fairly visible, there is a largely unseen spiritual dimension that is far more consequential. Most of America has turned from God, and we are living with the consequences of that decision.
What is playing out spiritually is infinitely more important than the political. As much as we don't want to see it, the election results are both exactly what many Americans deserve and perhaps what the country now needs.
America is now far closer in alignment to the doomed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah than to a shining city on a hill.
A major political party literally campaigned on the single issue of being able to murder unborn lives up until the point of birth, and that was compelling to millions of Americans. What does that say about the spiritual darkness that has been descending across the land for decades?
We've watched as the LGBT agenda has been weaponized to such an extent that Americans are forced to not just tolerate, but to celebrate ungodly acts and subject their kids to it or be vilified and even cast from "polite" society. This will get worse.
And for those who would respond that the elections were close, or stolen, that is cold comfort. The fact that Democrats aren't losing nearly every vote with their current agenda is proof enough that we are in a tragic state. If Democrats had run on their current agenda even as late as the '90s, they would have lost all 54 states.
And so we arrive at a dark time, where it is easy to despair for our nation. Don't. That's what the enemy wants.
This is a hopeful moment that calls for happy warriors. Americans will be hungering for truth when society is denying it. In the Bible, conditions needed to be at their worst before people turned back to the truth. And as pressure increases dramatically on Americans, they will be looking for truth.
We need to embrace this moment in the same way that biblical heroes like Daniel and Josiah, both of whom found themselves in key positions in corrupt societies, did. We need to shine the light of truth into a broken and corrupt culture.
The political battles, while important, are secondary and won't pierce the spiritual darkness. As has always been the case, the most important battles will be won and lost on smaller battlefields outside the sound and thunder of the manipulated news cycle, one by one, for the hearts, minds, and souls of individual Americans.
These types of battles aren't easy, and the cost will be high since the left controls the cultural heights.
Some heroic Americans, such as the pro-life protesters who have been harassed and imprisoned by their own government, already know this all too well, as do some of the January 6 protesters who received no due process after protesting a corrupt election. They had their lives destroyed on trumped up charges as absurd as "parading." Small business–owners have been bankrupted for standing for their religious convictions. My best friend lost his job at a pharmaceutical company for refusing to receive the COVID shot, in response to which a federal lawsuit was just filed.
It's only getting started, and it will get worse. Attacks on those who stand for the truth and justice will reach ever new heights.
But, again, the Bible is illuminating on this issue. The cost of following God, both in the Old Testament and New Testament, was high. Many of the Old Testament heroes died in foreign lands, far away from the homes they loved, while nearly all the New Testament heroes died for their faith.
I'm not saying that it will come to that, but we should be like the early apostles, who rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for their Lord (see Acts 5:41).
Following Christ was never meant to be easy, and the fact that it has been in America for so long for so many has been a historic anomaly. It has led to a weakened faith that is often too intertwined with the culture and not willing to stand for the truth. That crisis of faith has left us unprepared for this moment.
In the short-term, I think America will be in the hands of the political and cultural left. While we still need to fight the political battles, the answer will be found not at the bottom of a stuffed ballot box, but in dusty Bibles that Americans pull off their shelves.
Within this current darkness, faithful Americans will be able to stand for the truth and shine a light. That's a start back to the City on a Hill that we've lost.
It is an opportunity for real repentance and revival. That's what America most needs now, and that's the silver lining I see coming out of the election.
Fletch Daniels can be reached on Twitter at @fletchdaniels.