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Is the tide turning against social conservatives?

As Obama headed back to the White House to start his second term, most of the world breathed a collective sigh of relief.

There is more to celebrate than just avoiding a Romney presidency, however. While the media circus was descending into spasms like a spider on ecstasy over Obama’s re-election, I want to celebrate some of the other victories that have been overlooked on what was a horrific election night for many conservatives.

For the first time gay marriage was passed by ballot in three different states, and in Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin became the first openly homosexual senator. These are indicators of thawing attitudes towards the LGBT+ people.

With a president now who has definitively come out in favour of gay marriage in the White House, the election night was a great night in this respect and gives hope for future progress.

It was also a good night for proponents of drug legalisation, as both Colorado and Washington voted in favour of legalising recreational cannabis use. Of course these are small victories but the movement towards a rational drug policy is fantastic news. The ending of a fruitless, expensive and unwinnable war on drugs (at least in these select corners of America) should be celebrated.

Among the Democratic of House Representatives, there are now equal numbers of men and women. While the Republicans are still 90% white males, it is comforting to see, at least on one side of the political divide, that being a woman is no longer such an obstacle to be in political office.

With Todd “legitimate rape” Akin losing a seemingly easy race, as with LBGT+ issues, there is a sense that the tide is changing. Indeed, in all probability one of the next Presidential Candidates for 2016 will be a woman, in the form of Hillary Clinton.

America is still a long way from being a progressive utopia. It is still a country where a man who wondered why aeroplane windows don’t open was in with a shot at the highest position of public office. But there are signs that America may be turning a corner away from social conservatism, and instead towards a more liberal and accepting place.

It would seem that, in the end, the Republicans’ socially regressive platform contributed to their downfall.

20/11/2012

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Harry Edwards


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