The 2010
midterm elections in the United States were an overwhelming victory for fans of
limited government, individual liberties, states’ rights, and traditional moral
values. The media narrative told us that the economy and jobs drove and
determined this election, but it was much more profound a referendum than that.

It was, in the first place, a big victory for pro-life candidates, whose stand on the issue may have been decisive in many close races. Four female pro-life state
governors were elected and the current Senate gained its first pro-life woman,
Kelly Ayotte.

The
election campaign had been notable for the number of women pro-life
candidates, including
Hewlett-Packard chief executive
Carly Fiorina, who ran for Senate from California.
Though Fiorina did not win her election, she
made it a close and tough race with an entrenched liberal incumbent. The Susan
B. Anthony List went head-to-head with the Emily’s List political action
organization – the former with a mission of supporting pro-life women for
elective office and the latter to back pro-abortion women candidates – and this
time around,
SBA won the contest.

“This shift in numbers from pro-abortion
to pro-life women is historic and no accident,” SBA List President
Marjorie Dannenfelser said. “It is a corrective moment for the women’s
movement which must either drop abortion out of its center or risk dropping off
the face of the earth.

The pro-life
movement includes men, and this year’s star candidate was Florida’s Marco
Rubio. He was as excruciating to the Democrats as he was exhilarating to the
Republicans, and that, thanks to Tea Party support. The son of Cuban exiles, Rubio
belongs to the demographic the Democrats thought they owned. Winning the race
for the Senate as a Republican, however, does not mean he is owned by that
party either. As he said in
his “victory speech”, the election
results are a “second chance” for Republicans “
to be what they said they were going to be
not so long ago.” A man of solid integrity, he becomes the new candidate of
hope and change. In the Republican Party.

The American story

But what
is it that the Republicans have a second chance to be?

In the
two days after the elections, I had some encounters that provided some clues.
In an Acton Institute event, one of the panelists poignantly said that, time
and again, he had encountered Tea Party activists carrying copies of the
Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and they were familiar with these texts.
In fact, they had become “people of the text”, reading the Federalist Papers
and tracing their concept of human dignity to Sacred Scripture. They were seizing
the
founding narrative
and restoring it to its proper place in American politics, he observed.

I submit
that the election was also about another document, the
Manhattan Declaration. On the day after the election, I had the
opportunity to guest-host a three-hour radio show and in a lineup of great and
knowledgeable guests was Princeton Professor Robert George, one of the
Declaration’s drafters. The three key principles of the declaration, sanctity
of life, defense of traditional marriage, and protection of conscience rights
were all upheld in the elections, said George, who is worth quoting at length:

It is a mistake to read [election] results as
economic considerations in the wake of Obama’s efforts to take over health care
and other sectors of the economy,” he said. “They certainly played a role. But
when you look at the platform of those who were elected and those who were
defeated, you will see that the social issues were very much in play. The
public got to choose between who respected them and who didn’t. And in an
enormous number of cases, they chose the ones who did.

It’s also very important not only to look at
what happened at the federal level, but also to the states. There were very important
victories for life and marriage in the governorships. There were some
tremendous victories in the state legislatures for life and marriage. New
Hampshire [which elected pro-life Kelly Ayotte], won a veto-proof majority in
their state legislature and it may be possible to restore the tradition
definition of marriage…

The most important fact on marriage and its
future is that when this issue has been put to the people 31 times, in all 31
times the people have resoundingly affirmed the traditional definition. It’s
not inevitable that it will be overturned, at all. Judges will step out of line
and advance an agenda and impose their view on the states. But three of those
judges were on the ballot who did that in Iowa, and they were all thrown out by
the voters.


 

Conservatives
have seized control of the narrative as best they can. It’s a new day in
America. But quickly and purposely, the new representatives are moving to
acknowledge the mandate they received from people of the text, and promise
stewardship over its values.

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy Award winning journalist. She blogs on American politics at SheilaReports, MercatorNet.com

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....