We’ve been here before. This time will end like the last time and the time before that. Since our country was founded, we have fought futile culture wars that delay but never stop the inevitable changes to our society.
“Pray, do not forget the ladies”, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John, as he sat at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Abigail wanted women to have property and voting rights. John and the other men ignored her plea as they drafted the Constitution. Women got the vote in 1920 but continue the struggle for equality.
About half the delegates at the Constitutional Convention owned slaves. They threatened to torpedo the entire project unless they were allowed to keep their “peculiar institution”. Slavery ended with the Civil War but was followed by decades of domestic terrorism as white supremacists tried to reverse the laws granting equality to former slaves. Racial inequality is still the most divisive topic we face as a nation and domestic terrorism attacks continue, most recently in Buffalo, N.Y.
We’re a nation of immigrants yet after the U.S. expanded from sea to shining sea, immigration suddenly became a threat. Earlier immigrants, who now saw themselves as red-blooded Americans, tried to block later waves of immigrants. They argued that the new guys would undermine American jobs and wages and our culture, ignoring their own successful assimilation.
The latest culture war is the same stale mix of fear and hysteria. In the 2020 census Americans could choose more than one ethnicity; many did so. That change highlighted the fact that the percentage of white Americans is declining.
Hoping to reverse demographic trends, white supremacists are joining the anti-abortion crowd. The latest laws would ban abortions even when it would save the mother’s life or when the females (including VERY young girls) have been violated by rape or incest. Other forms of birth control are also being banned.
None of the anti-abortionists have ever suggested that male persons should learn to use condoms, get a vasectomy, not rape children, and respect a woman when she says “no”. They never will because that’s not the point of these laws. These laws are intended to oppress all women while simultaneously forcing more white women to have babies.
Closely aligned with the anti-abortion crowd are the Protestants demanding “religious freedom” laws which allow them to discriminate against people who are of other faiths, female, LGBTQ, or living any lifestyle which offends these self-appointed protectors of “Christian America”. It’s also the most recent effort to entrench Protestantism as a state religion based on hysterical fear of Islam, replacing hysterical fear of Catholicism. It won’t stop church pews continuing to empty.
The most short-sighted culture warriors are the anti-immigrants. They are taking an enormous gamble that they’ll never end up old and sick. Medicare already eats up a huge chunk of the federal budget and America’s working age population is shrinking. Without immigrants to fill jobs and pay taxes, there won’t be enough money to fund Medicare in its current generous form.
Culture wars ruin lives. Targeted people are terrorized with death threats (women are also threatened with rape). People die violently. But in the end, this war will end like all the previous culture wars.
It’s time for the culture warriors to go through the seven stages of grief and learn to accept the things they cannot change.
About Norma Shirk
My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps employers (with up to 50 employees) to create human resources policies and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to help small companies grow by creating the necessary back office administrative structure while avoiding the dead weight of a bureaucracy. To read my musings on the wacky world of human resources, see the HR Compliance Jungle (www.hrcompliancejungle.com) which alternates on Wednesday mornings with my history blog, History By Norma, (available at http://www.normashirk.com). To read my musings on a variety of topics, see my posts on Her Savvy (www.hersavvy.com).
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