Thursday, December 28, 2017

Roiled Waters when the Tides change

There is a big change happening in the culture war.  Majority Rule is out.  Minority rights are in.

The Culture War is the current big divide between the two political parties.  The Moral Majority people are figuring out that they are actually a minority now.   

They are building a fortress to keep back the tide of history.

Gerrymandering.  Stacked courts.
Political party ideologies mostly clash on culture, not economics.  The differences between Democrats and Republican are not economic or class based.  Neither party is clearly pro or anti free trade.  Neither party is consistent on taxation of different income segments.  Everyone says they want to tax the rich and help out the middle class.  Both parties talk "populism."

Trump's criticism of immigrant interlopers was a defense of the public benefits and the safety net for its rightful beneficiaries, not a criticism of it.  Under Trump's leadership of the GOP neither party opposes America as a social welfare democracy.  (Presently Trump in; Ryan out.)

In the culture war there is an anti-abortion party and a woman's autonomy party.  A party uncomfortable with gay marriage, and one that accepts it.  A party of church-going Christians, and a party that sleeps in on Sundays.  A party of whites, and a party of diversity.  A party that resists European style cosmopolitanism, and a party that sees diversity as the inevitable and acceptable future.  

Great again vs. becoming fairer.

Religious conservatives see the handwriting on the wall. They are losing the position of "Majority Triumphant."   Trump and Fox are asserting we can now--at long last--say 'Merry Christmas," he says. The assertion is factually laughable, but psychologically correct.  It embeds a premise:  Christian primacy is at war and their side is in slow retreat because they are losing.

The Christian right sought one big policy action from Trump: appointment of conservative judges.  These judges are not there to expand majoritarian power. Those judges are there to defend minority rights.  

The Masterpiece Cake vs. Colorado case pits minority rights of free speech and the free exercise of religion against majority culture.  The "conservative" position is to allow the baker to exercise a personal religious right, to refuse service of decorating a cake for a gay marriage.  They are defending religious practice over a majority consensus that it is nasty--and illegal--to discriminate.  

Inconsistencies are rampant.  Today Trump, Fox News, and conservative political opinion condemn black athletes from exercising a free speech right to protest police violence.  In years past Jehovahs Witnesses wanted the free exercise of religion to avoid saying a Pledge of Allegiance.  Conservative opinion had been that they must conform.  They are on both sides of this.

But even in this change of tides there are swirls and eddies.  They defend faith, but  mostly Christian faith, not the free exercise of Muslim faith.  The conservative Christian majority opposed building a Mosque near the World Trade Center site.  

ACLU: it's about discrimination.  Not religious freedom.
Inconsistencies take place on the left as well.  The ACLU defends the gay couple, not the baker.  In cases past, the ACLU defended the Jehovah's Witnesses and the religious minority.  The ACLU generally defends the underdog.  Currently it is the gay couple, not the baker.  In future years this might switch, as the left and ACLU figure out what the right is realizing, that Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority is mis-named.  It is no longer a white, Christian nation.

But they won a squeaker with Trump, and they are using this time to build physical and legal fortresses to lock in their vanishing majority.  Walls on the border.  End 14th Amendment birthright citizenship.  Slow legal immigration. Voter ID.  Reduce voting hours.  Keep former felons from voting   Gerrymander House districts.  Appoint and confirm conservatives to the courts.  Attack higher education.  Embrace media silos. Home schools.

These are fortresses in a retreat.

1 comment:

Rick Millward said...

Religion squirmed its way into politics when Republicans realized that conservatism was destroying their base.

It's now firmly embedded and will be difficult to dislodge. Another mistake by Progressives whose tolerance for liberal churches muddied the waters. This is almost unforgivable. The founders knew better and we should too...