Social Conservatism: The Great American Oxymoron
Can you be a Social Conservative, actually understand and believe in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights? It’s not imaginable nor is it practically realistic from my vantage point. Social Conservatism by definition addresses social behavior as encouraged or dictated by the people and the government. This is absolutely and completely contrary to what America’s founding ideals require of us. Social Conservatism in America is an oxymoron.
The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are not particularly complex documents to read. I mean it’s not rocket science. It might as well be when you engage someone who thinks “Ozzy and Harriet”, “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Andy Griffith” show are models of what life in America should be. That, laced with a bit of social and political poison provided by media outlets like Fox News, are apparently the basis from which many older Americans view our society.
The book store is one of my most enjoyable hangouts. Just the other day, I was motivated to write this column by a comment I overheard from another older gentleman who was talking to a friend. After this guy mentioned how terrible Keith Olberman and Rachael Maddow are, he told his friend that the Democrats are corrupting the minds of Americans. Then he went on to make this statement: “Our kids are voting for them and there’s nothing we can do about it“. Well, at least he was right about that.
The kids get it! Perhaps many of them have an intellectual and social advantage that their parents and certainly their grandparents did not have. They have been exposed over a greater spectrum of social life that includes a far more diverse photograph of what American society is, and what it should be. They attend school and activities with young people from other races and cultures. They see far more people who don’t look like them in television and in advertising. They see and hear success stories about all measure of people who span a varied cultural horizon. Youth has the internet to further fuel their personal global vision while eliminating social boundaries.
The kids understand that America has nothing to do with color or class and they are not afraid. They understand and sincerely appreciate the statement “all men are created equal.” They have no fear of losing the white advantage. This is, of course, a big part of what many so called social conservatives really and truly fear. They (the conservatives) want to preserve some hollow guarantee that white people will have some entitled advantage, even if it only means through sheer numbers.
The younger generations are now voters and becoming voters that don’t gravitate to social conservatism because they see the clear hypocrisy of it. They understand that it is not the American way. For example, they understand that Gay Rights are only an issue because people want to meddle in the lives of others. They understand that no American should ever be deprived of a right that another American enjoys! There’s food for thought!
If two men or two women want to get married; so what?! Let ’em. They understand that it has nothing to do with what the Bible says! It has to do only with what the Constitution says. It’s pretty darn plain and simple in the secular society that America is. These young Americans understand that having a Christian in the White House is not required. The United States government shall make no laws requiring or encouraging anything that looks or feels like a dominant state religion. Younger generations of people want control of their life choices where social interaction (including inter-racial marriage), god, and even abortion are concerned. On all of these points, the young voter is correct. Perhaps, unlike their socially conservative relatives, they have read and understand our founding documents. Thankfully, many of them have never even seen “Leave it to Beaver”.
You can call yourself a good American and be a social conservative. I can call myself “Elvis” but that won’t make it true! Being a good American means you uphold the welcoming American ideal and the concept of true freedom. You can’t rationally be against immigration when this country is a nation of immigrants, when your own families came here through Ellis Island or managed to find their way otherwise. You can’t sincerely say that you love your country when you disrespect or and rain down hate on fellow Americans that do not look or sound like you.
What could be more anti-American than outrageous attempts to hold up Christianity as our religion, a country that by law, welcomes people of all religions. An American is free to choose his own religious path as well as he is to reject such a notion. I understand the horrible misrepresentation that this country was founded on Christian ideals. The founding fathers’ were such good Christians that they forgot to mention any god, the cross or Christ in all of the nation’s founding documents? They wisely remembered to make prohibitive reference to a state religion in the 1st Amendment! Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Any assessment of America as a Christian nation seems a bit like loaves and fishy to me.
What could more paranoid and xenophobic than the concept of white privilege. The often stated belief is that blacks, asians, hispanics and middle easterners are over-running or damaging “your” American society. Tell me, what could be more hypocritical than a discussion about preserving life, when social conservatives are the primary proponents (in this country) of death by capital punishment and death by the thousands in needless wars. The concept of social conservatism versus true American ideal are at polar opposites.
The founding fathers could not have possibly imagined what this nation has become. When they shaped our guiding principles, they were not at all grounded in denying rights and freedoms. They were firmly cemented in providing a more liberal (oh, there’s that word again) interpretation of and path to freedom in a welcoming new and society. If there was one thing that they wanted to be certain of, it was that you as an individual citizen were to remain free. And that we are!
If you, professed social conservatives, just want it your way, then simply say so. If you just want to be in control because you think “white Christians” should rule the country or the world, that’s okay. Just come on out and say it! After all, this is America and we welcome your voice. At least then, the debate would make some small measure of sense. As it stands, the American Social Conservatism that I’m hearing about does not measure up to the guidance our nation’s framers have so clearly provided.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. Your kids and grand children, in greater numbers, are waking up and becoming Democrats, or at least free thinkers.
What is American Social Conservatism? It is a textbook case of an oxymoron.