HOW DID ALL OF THIS STUFF START ?
The Democratic Convention of 1972 saw the first time that most of the delegates were college graduates. I must say, with all appropriate humility, that I saw something coming our way. I am not an anti-elitist, although I do not read the New York Times, the Nation, the New Yorker or listen to NPR. I had a feeling back then, and I have witnesses, that the 1960’s spawned a reaction that would lead to regular people ( whoever they were at the time) to reject the mores of those they considered elitists.
The whole northeast liberal establishment was going to see a reaction to even the most common sense views of our world. Thus came the rebellion in music (from top ten integrated music to country western), to a resurrection of the Civil War (the South has risen), rejection of climate change and global warming and evolution, and the rejection of traditional Protestant churches to a new and more evangelical Christianity.
It hasn’t been that long since Jerry Fallwell started the Moral Majority. He was joined by so many other religious evangelicals that he was soon relegated to a back row. There were now Christian colleges (and not the traditional ones). There were Christian law schools, job sites on the net, Christian dating sites and so on. The combination of religion and politics soon became a normal part of the country’s fabric.
The so called liberal bias in the reporting of news was soon challenged by ultra right wing TV news, newspapers, magazines, and websites. Somehow capitalism (the kind Ayn Rand espoused), combined with religion, social issues such as abortion, capital punishment, and gun profusion combined to create a new way of thinking.
In his book, “Deer Hunting with Jesus,” Joe Bageant describes the evolution of fundamentalism, conservative political thought, trust no government, vote for those who espouse your views, even though they might not help with getting jobs created. Somehow those that seem to be aggrandized by the current shape of the economy are the most vocal. They support causes, think tanks and legislation that seem to disadvantage those very people who support them.
It is hard to see how the middle class, whose definition is now beyond me and most observers, is going to survive, both financially and socially. There may still be small enclaves of those kinds of folks in many parts of our country, but they don’t really have a voice. There really isn’t much leadership for them. The “liberal” media really does not seem to represent any group of people. It is intent on its narcissistic ways, making sure that whoever it offends never sees, nor hears any of its plaintive cries.
As we look toward the future, as the country heads down the path of larger divisions between the have gots and the have nots, we are assured that all that I mentioned above will continue. Once again, we can look for leadership to connect all of us (somehow Bill Clinton had some success, and yes he has a southern accent). Whoever they may be, I hope that it comes in my lifetime.