There is nothing initially wrong with the claim that conservatives and conservative politics have, in various eras and under numerous circumstances, provided a healthy balance against idealistic, but perhaps irresponsible, liberalism, or diluted progressive spirits so as to make them palatable to a broader public. Indeed, conservatism generally might be regarded as a social anchor, providing a moderating fixture around which more radical tendencies might pull upon the ship of state. The American Right has traditionally built itself upon values of individual liberties, resistance to unchecked government expansion, private sector economic autonomy, and strong physical security. Sadly, it takes little more than opening one’s eyes to realize that all of these principles have been comprehensively, systematically, and unapologetically undermined by the neo-conservative movement’s choke hold on high level American policy over the last eight years (and, sadly, even before). What now remains of the conservative establishment is a tattered mess of insular xenophobia, regressive world-views of entirely imagined historical ideals, and anti-intellectualism of the worst kind. It can’t be assumed, unfortunately, that the false realities of the Right signal anything that could be mistaken for the end of the movement. Indeed, in the best pseudo-scientific tradition, the Right is offering the narrative that their beloved ideology WAS failed. Nevermore the anchor that keeps society from going adrift, conservatism is the anchor that the nation must drag through the tides of history.
On a personal note, the 2008 election season ends on Tuesday, when the polls open in Georgia for the U.S. Senate run-off between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin. On November 4th, I felt almost blessed to be able to have voted for a presidential candidate that I could unambiguously support and who, since the election, has yet to disappoint. On December 2nd, the choice is still more clear, and my absentee ballot has been mailed. Everything that the past eight years have come to represent for American policy is brought together in the vile candidacy of Saxby Chambliss. True to form, he has yet again disparaged the courage and service of a veteran in his fear-mongering lust for power, which itself has been marked by corruption and nepotism. On the other hand, Jim Martin has embodied common-sense decency, middle-class values, and grass-roots support that have all become Democratic characteristics lately…who knew! The only conclusion that can be drawn from ongoing polls of this race is that voter turn-out will be the single deciding factor. As far as I am concerned, though, it’s been an honor to cast two ballots, on what may become two historic days, for a real progressive Georgia Democrat.