The results have come in, though some still continue pouring through the excitement of the news outlets, all reporting Barack Obama’s reelection as president of the United States.
All things considered, the result was not a surprise, at least not for me. As conservative as I am, it was clear for me that Romney did not have a chance against the incumbent. His acceptance amongst the American electorate, when combined with his stance on immigration and gay marriage, plus his views against US military presence in the Middle East (which, by the way, was a great election vehicle in 2008), were all too hard for a hardcore Republican like Romney to vanquish.
What must be seen here is something beyond the mere election result. Romney’s defeat is not just his campaign being thrashed, or his Mormon faith dragging him down in the polls. It is the American people, voicing out their despise for the ultraconservatism exemplified by Romney, and initially embodied by both Bush-es.
May I clarify that I am not using the terms conservative and right interchangeably. I see a clear difference between them. The right is a system of government, which as any has its virtues and its shortcomings. The conservatism is a rotten and outdated view of the world, which aims at restricting many things regarded as diabolic and unnatural. And well, though some of them may be unnatural and from a certain perspective immoral, politics is a game of tolerance and concessions. The conservatives, whether by choice or by cultural inheritance, ought to accept that.
The world that created the left and right in politics and government is no longer in existence. It was a world of black and white, of right -go figure- versus wrong, of free versus slave, etc. The difference was clear and easy to see. But our society has changed, and the debate is not that simple anymore. Yet many conservatives persist in seeing it that way. For that reason, the right lost legitimacy and debating weight, as it was associated with indefensible points, and had its banners carried by uncompromising politicians. Hence, their struggle to pair up the ideals of the conservatism with the aims of the right was tarnished by the restrictive character of the former.
This, of course, gives way to an identity crisis for new rightist politicians and followers who now must struggle to keep the party alive. In that struggle, these newcomers to the political scene have adequately focused on keeping the right and slightly but surely dismissing the conservative, thus choosing the better reflecting adjective moderate.
This being said, the entire political spectrum finds itself changed and redefined. The traditionalconservative understanding no longer holds up in a debate. The right, however, does. And all those who at one point called themselves center-right are no more. The center has become the new right, and the left now takes on a more aggressive, further-reaching stance than ever, emboldened by its triumph on moral issues such as gay rights and abortion.
The conservative politicians and their voters are outdated. The left is inevitably taking over politics, and if the right is going to counter its advance, or at least ensure its survival –and for democracy’s sake it should- it needs to redefine itself as a political force focused on administration and a stronger foreign policy maker, away from morality and restrictions.
As a personal note, at one point I considered myself a conservative. I was raised as one. Now, after studying and loving politics as I have, I understand that the far right was simply too narrow-minded, and it even clouded politicians’ and voters’ view of administrative issues, which is what politics is all about, in the end. Morality remains a high importance issue for me, but I know now that politics cannot be tied to it.