Saturday, November 27, 2004

This Too Shall Pass

That's what my father used to tell me, and maybe he was right. I've been repeating to myself like a mantra lately: "The McCarthy years were bad, too, and we got through that." So I was really happy to run across Leonard Steinhorn's piece in Salon just now. Even though the media has been singing the blues (or should that be singing the reds?) about the Red States Moral Revolution sweeping the nation, Steinhorn says they are actually a minority (albeit a loud one).

First, social conservatives are mostly "pre-boomers" who are living longer than in the past (but can't live forever, presumably). Boomers and their children as a group value tolerance and inclusivity much more highly than pre-boomers do; the former are the mainstream now and the shapers of politics and society in the future.

The illusion of a predominant "moral values" voting bloc has much to do with the fact that the most traditional and socially conservative Americans, pre-baby boomers, are living much longer lives and voting in very large numbers -- skewing exit polls and thus our image of the mainstream. Once younger voters begin to replace them, the socially conservative vote will return to the margins of American life.
Second, even Americans who voted for Bush would revolt if the fundamentalist Christian right actually started to make their Bible-based society a reality. For example:

When the trustees at James Madison University in rural Virginia voted to ban the morning-after pill from the student health center in 2003, the largely conservative student body rose up within 36 hours and demanded change. Consider that a microcosm of what would happen nationwide.
If the above doesn't convince, then go back to the beginning. Remember Tailgunner Joe and the House Un-American Activities Committee? Remember Anita Bryant? Remember the Luddites? So here's the word from Mixed Metaphor Lady: Hold on tight, it's going to be a bumpy ride; but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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