Some politicians (Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis immediately come to mind) cast themselves in the role of saving American culture—their values are the ones American culture must have.
Arguments over cultural choices is a time-honored tradition. They help us mold our thoughts and ideas into a coherent, consistent, and useful lifestyle that works for us; however, when certain choices are made illegal to suit the current viewpoint, the country loses.
Positions at Stake
Various states have passed laws that
- History teachers must not tell the truth about slavery. Why? Some white children might feel bad because of prejudicial actions by whites in previous generations. That ignores the economic disadvantage many black families start from because their ancestors were forced to make their owners wealthy and forbidden to earn wealth themselves.
- Insist that psychology Advanced Placement tests not include information about gender and sexual choices, beyond the biblical people are born men and women who get married and have children.
- Gives the government the right over abortion. They take that difficult decision away from the woman in the situation, reducing the woman’s rights below that of the unborn fetus.
Gov. DeSantis like to campaign against Woke institutions. What is Woke? Any policy that he disagrees with. Its ill-defined nature is an advantage in public discourse. It makes criticism of anti-Woke arguments difficult. Definitions slide to elude escape specific meaning.
I was raised in traditional Catholicism. I got married, had children, and grandchildren. But I don’t see others making different choices as evil, but as different.
Live and let live, until they break a law—like robbery, violence against another, and the like. Not a law that’s designed to make their choice illegal. That is un-American.
The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights guarantee all citizens the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Those rights are not subject to majority rule. Each person has the right to think as they please no matter what the majority thinks.
The First Amendment declares Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That freedom of expression protects the culture warrior, too. They can think and say what they will—until it restricts the rights of others. Unfortunately, the political culture warrior pushes laws to eliminate other citizens the right to exercise their own freedoms.
Political Culture Warriors
Some people, delighted by their exalted position in society, deify their norms, make them sacrosanct, and aim to make any variance illegal.
Why do some politicians push cultural issues? Look for politicians who have no solutions for foreign policy, environment, technological, and economic issues.
Cultural issues are red herrings. The goal is to make those who choose differently scapegoats. Scapegoats divert the population from noticing the politicians’ failings in guiding the United States through challenging international disputes, threatening climate changes, and exciting but uncertain technological and economic futures.
Don’t be distracted by hot-button cultural differences. We need leaders to guide us through real difficulties, not just ones they manufactured to maintain their power.
Dare We Change An investigation into how we can make the most of our Constitution and democracy.