When I first began to take an interest in things political as a high school civics student, I garnered a sort of paradoxical love of country juxtaposed against a expanding distrust of the Establishment of the time. I was secretly astonished by the genius of our Founding Fathers and the balanced government structure they gave to us; but it was 1969, and I was getting caught up in the youth revolution and opening volleys of the culture war that has since unknowingly and insidiously accomplished the very objectives I so naively and innocently embraced. Unfortunately, it has taken nearly 45 years for me to see exactly what has happened and how it transpired.
If my parents’ was the Greatest Generation, mine was probably the most ignorant and altruistically naive. We laughed at the likes of Senator McCarthy and his successors. We thought them alarmist buffoons with an agenda for perpetual wealth and social oppression of those with less. We viewed communism as something as likely to happen in America as a fairy tale. Rules were to be broken, authority questioned at every opportunity. We did what felt good and did it as frequently as we wanted. We regarded most laws as inane, unnecessary, and unduly authoritative and oppressive expressions of the ruling class whose banks and stocks were the very bane of our existence.
Back then, I was part of a liberal minority with hopes and dreams of permanent change; yet, any legitimate or objectively measurable change seemed distant and unobtainable. I, along with many of you, were not aware that it was already surreptitiously happening slowly, quietly, and insidiously below the surface of the mainstream social strata that I was gradually embracing as my early career was underway. As I became a working taxpayer and then a parent, I noticed even less the subtle transformations our social and moral fabric was undergoing while I moved from left to center and ultimately to the right. Things just seemed to be progressing normally and steadily. Our country never seemed in domestic danger.
Now I am part of the conservative minority, aging, becoming more irrelevant by the day as our land continues to implement the changes and transformations that have been in the works for a half a century or more. Like a distant unseen aging relative, I am astonished by the wear and seeming grotesque change in the manner of things American.
I am a stranger in a strange land. I live in a country where God is not welcome in our public schools. Education about “safe” sex is preferred over abstinence. Marriage between two people of the same sex will soon become as mainstream as the institution and sacrament heretofore limited to a man and a woman. Welcoming diversity is more important than unity and integration. Patriotism is old-fashioned and barely hanging on by the weakly-sung verses of “God Bless America” in the middle of the seventh inning at many major league baseball games. The Pledge of Allegiance is essentially dead, irrelevant and ignored because of its proclamation that we are “one nation, under God.” Atheism is the new religion of America as God is edged out no longer by ACLU lawsuits alone but by social and familial customs and practices. Business success and profits have become unpopular signs of greed, selfishness, and injustice. Even our coins look and sound like the play money of my youth.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.