2012: the year traditional conservatism died

Obama 2012

 

This is more than an American political campaign logo and slogan: it is the iconic representation of  the time America shed yet another layer of its divisive past; the time this massive North American continent went from its chrysalis of being the United States to embarking on its butterfly promise toward America and a more perfect union.

Whether it be demonstrated by way of marriage equality referenda, the record number of women being sent to a newly reconstituted Senate (one openly lesbian), or marijuana legalization, 2012 marked a decisive turning point in the American body politic where the share of the White male vote again fell against a backdrop of the rising participation of the majority of its citizens led by women and non-White Americans -- and this is a good and democratic thing!

As both a White male (3/4s anyway) and citizen to the left of President Obama I see in the policy prescriptions thus far presented by the 44th President a 3rd-way, centrist pragmatism often too conservative for my personal tastes but "pitch perfect" to the slightly left-of-center nation we see we are when a plurality of participation occurs.  This is the second national election where this reality became manifest so it is not a fluke nor is it likely to change with the speed that demographic change is occurring (50,000 Hispanics turning 18 every month).

In making these observations I do not do so as a wild-eyed dreamer nor a sage or seer.  It should be obvious to any one not blinded with fear.   Conservatives and conservatism will still have a place in this new American society and they should.  But what the likes of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (we will see if he remains as such), House Speaker John Boehner and his cohort Eric Cantor best understand is that the brand of mythical, "Father Knows Best," White nostalgic, Barry Goldwater/John Birch/Tea Party conservatism has been relegated to a fringe and regional philosophy once again proven by a massive second straight loss when these ideals are presented on a national stage.

During his resounding national rebuke last night Fox News pundit, "Bush's Brain," and American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS founder Karl Rove bent himself into pretzels trying to hitch his caboose to the new demographics train perhaps being led by Hispanics.  Rove attempted to wax poetic about the Latino family, their devotion to faith and family, as if other groups somehow have not strived for this ability in the face of say Jim Crow, red-lining in housing and other anti-family, anti-stabilizing efforts.  Indeed, we saw Jim Crow-era tactics at play in trying to suppress non-white and younger voters.  Attempts which failed!  Anti-democratic, Anti-American forces always will.

This is what Rove (we could name others like Glenn Beck, Charles Krauthammer, Rush Limbaugh, etc.) does not understand.  Though Hispanics and other "minorities" may be receptive to a "conservative" message, it can not nor will not come from the traditional philosophy born essentially of White "supremacy" and privilege.  It will have to morph into the quasi-socialist messages offered by the Christ these groups revere.  It will have to teach people to fish and then encourage people to become fishermen themselves but will have to acknowledge that teachers of all types (including parents, caregivers, etc.) need to be groomed, appreciated . . . and paid!

The Democratic Party (the Green Party as well) is full of young men and women as diverse as a rainbow and if conservatives and/or the Republican Party hope to remain relevant in the 21st century and beyond, they had best look at themselves in the mirror and realize . . . they do not look like America.

 

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  • "White "supremacy" and privilege"....

    it's unfortunate that your view of the election is a victory over "white supremacy and privelge". I'm still waiting for my privelges to come but sadly they have not. With the rapid change of demographics in the country you spoke of, I am looking forward to being counted as a minority group as well then I can join the ranks of the protected, but until then I am still the boogey man for everyone to fear. But now that old white guys and their " traditional philosophy born essentially of White "supremacy" and privilege" have been conquered again who will you have to vilify?

  • In reply to Aaron DeDobbelaere:

    That is the point my friend: there will be no one to vilify.

    Privilige is not simply economic gain. Sometimes it is found simply in not having someone cross the street when you approach them as they fear you, a person with an education and economic viability that surpasses their own.

    Privilige is not having your patriotism questioned or your citizenship marginalized by the likes of carnival barkers like Donald Trump (Romney's family being Mormons who fled the US to Mexico because they didn't want to reject polygamy. McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone). Obama was born to a white woman from Kansas!

    . . . I could go on.

    If you are a working/middle-class White individual, you too have been duped by the same flim-flam men that have sought to marginalize all of our vulnerable citizens throughout this country's often troubled history. Maybe soon you too will accept this and stop siding with them and start voting with your class, with your fellow citizen of another gender, ethnicity or orientation who share your plight. Maybe, just maybe, you will stop voting against your interests.

  • I love reading such intelligence on Chicago Now.

  • I am humbled! Thank you.

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    This Viking found your blogs thought provocking. Well have to give it some of my time. Jared 11/7/2012

  • In reply to Jared Johnson:

    I am honored. Thank you!

  • I agree with you: conservatism is dead as a main current in national thought. Or, rather, the old "liberalism", which valued individual thought and freedom.

    It is replaced by special groups and groupthink, by those who place on a human life only its economic value to the state, no matter how it is ornamented. The human as a unit of a class is actually very dehumanizing.

    Interesting that you in your attempt to illustrate privilege dredge up one of the most stereotypical examples supplied by activists: that of the cowering non-minority running across the street to avoid a minority either out of fear or loathing, or both. Is this a "blue eyed devil" reference?

    You now have your victory and you can now freely build your utopia, but like every utopia before it, it will fail as the more equal of the equal fight for the economic spoils and special access.

    Good luck in your struggle, and I mean that. I think it will hold disappointment for you as the decades go on. It will certainly for your offspring as special groups come and go and gain and lose power and access to the political class.

    Sorry, I forgot that you censor your comments. Well, I do not think I was "offending" you, but only offering my agreement with you and wondering what exactly you meant by the street crossing comment.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Deifying "individual thought" and your mythical, rhetorically nebulous, and very subjective American interpretation/usage of "freedom" above all else is a fairly recent phenomenon with notions of "the individual" born during the enlightenment and often used as part of the bedrock rationalization for capitalism and the philosophy of privilege and ownership/development of limited natural resources (most of which immorally and illegally confiscated or stolen by one imperial power or another and/or operatives thereof). This amoral (I would argue immoral) philosophical construct is but the most recent stop on a linear, Eurocentric, post-spiritual journey that grew out of the one that preceded it: religious inspired feudalism. Let's face it, the United States sees equitable resource allocation (socialism) as a prerequiste in many foreign policy positions but hypocritically denies its necessities domestically. Humm . . . I wonder why? Perhaps for the same reason we can't admit that this nation was in fact "founded" by marauding terrorists? It didn't need "founding" as people were already living here!

    Having said that, I do not discount the individual! I simply relegate to where it should be; subservient to the needs of the community. I do not buy into the selish and self-serving, Ayn Randian dystopic outlook on humanity as it contradicts tens of thousands of years of human survival, survival that was predicated not on individualism but collectivism by individuals in concert. And yes, I advocate a modern interpretation of this concept as it only takes something like Hurricane Sandy to show us why!

    You have a tendency of sarcastically referring to "utopias". I am not naive, but anyone with any faith persuation (different than "corporate" religion) lives with the hope of a better day. Perhaps your Ayn Ranian view is atheist like that view's namesake?

    My "struggle" requires no luck for I live it and along with others, am here to simply share it. But thank you for your concern none-the-less.

    Clearly I "chose" to address your comment so we can also tick that off the "to do" list. And you didn't "offend" me, you simply give me insight to an apparent reality that you clearly don't have any experience with discrimination, so I can't expect you to "get it" nor will I further try to enlighten you in a futile attempt in sympathy (not being able to empathize). The author of the comment you reference "got it" and thanked me for the analogy. That is all it was. If you find it "stereotypical," again . . . you obviously are equally cliche in your inability to understand as he did.

    But thank you for stopping by. I hope this helps . . . in every sense of the word.

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