“When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” –Elvis Presley

As 2012 comes to a close, many conservatives look back on the year and are only able to see what went wrong. Sure, 2012 wasn’t a bright light in the history of conservatism. It sure felt a lot more like 2008 when most of us were expecting it to feel a bit more like 2010, politically speaking at least. The crushing losses of the 2012 election cycle had many of us holding out a small hope that perhaps the Mayans were right and the world would end on December 21st. Thankfully, they were as off as most expected them to be and we all will live to fight another day. Yet, the fight in the conservative movement is waning. For most, political infighting, electoral losses, and cultural struggles make 2013 and beyond look bleak. However, 2012 certainly wasn’t all bad. Amid the apparent darkness, there were flashes of light and small victories which should be cherished, not shunned, as the ball drops on December 31st.

The United States nabbed the top spot in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Ok, so maybe this isn’t a strictly “political” victory, but who doesn’t love seeing your home nation triumph on a world stage? This year, the United States literally brought home the gold (46 of them in fact) and collectively stood above the pack with a total of 104 metals. Not to shabby, eh? There are few things that unite citizens of this great country more than athletic victories. What could be better than seeing the triumphs of hundreds of individuals come to fruition because of their hard work and perseverance. Sounds downright American to me. We might seem down now, but for one brief shining moment this past summer, we were on top of the world.

Republicans control a large number of state lgislatures and governorships. There are currently 26 state legislatures in Republican control and 29 Republican Governors at the helm all across this great nation. Sure, an (R) doesn’t necessarily automatically imply that conservative policies will see the light of day, but this is certainly more likely in Republican-controlled states. All politics is local. While we don’t have control of the presidency or the Senate, we have control of a majority of states. This means that the people closest to the average American are more likely Republican. Since people tend to trust their local or state representatives far more than those far away in Washington, conservative policies like Right to Work will have their day. Partner that with the fact that 21 states (so far) have rejected federal Obamacare exchanges. This goes to show that state governments still have a lot of power in our federalist society. And having stalwarts like Scott Walker and Rick Perry certainly doesn’t hurt either.

Republicans retain control of the House. While most are depressed by the inaction (*cough* Harry Reid *cough*) in Congress, don’t forget that Republicans still control 1/3 of the federal government. It’s not a majority by any means, but it’s something. Do you remember 2008-2010? Let’s be thankful that we’re not currently dealing with the danger of a Democratic supermajority again. With a Republican House (hopefully) blocking President Obama’s every extreme move, we can only hope that we won’t have a repeat of the Obamacare bill’s passage and see yet another bloated government program shoved down our throats.

Right to work passed in Michigan. Who would have ever though Right to Work would pass in Michigan before it passed in more conservative states like Missouri? I certainly didn’t see it coming. However, let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth. Michigan joins 23 other states who have some form of Right to Work law, allowing workers to choose whether or not they will join a union. Any day Americans are given a choice to opt out of being yet another cog in a bureaucratic machine is a good one in my book. With the high number of Republican legislatures and governors, we can only hope that the number of Right to Work states will increase in 2013.

Scott Walker wons recall election in a landslide. Just saying his name makes mob…er I mean union…bosses quake with fear. In June, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker won a recall vote with a higher percentage of the vote than he achieved in the previous election. Apparently all of the union whining and rioting did little good for their cause to unseat the union-busting governor. If anything, it damaged their cause even more. But, hey, people know good policies when they see them and the good people of Wisconsin are no different.

See, it wasn’t all bad, right? Yes, we faced some hardships in 2012 and we are sure to face more in 2013. However, sometimes you just have to count your blessings and say your prayers for the future. How productive will the conservative movement be if we continue to mope around and focus on the darkness? Sometimes, you just have to make the choice to turn your eyes to the light.

Amy Lutz | St. Louis University | @AmyLutz4