fingerlakeswanderer

fingerlakeswanderer
Birthday
May 09
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cassandra
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Lorraine Berry lives in the Fingerlakes region of New York, although it's her transplanted home. On weekends, she can be heard throughout the area, cheering on her beloved Manchester City F.C. When not writing at Does This Make Sense? or Talking Writing, she can be found hiking with her two dogs, hanging out with her two daughters, eating what her beloved Rob has cooked for her, or teaching creative writing at a small college in the area.

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MARCH 15, 2009 9:27AM

I Fear Frank Rich is Wrong

Rate: 45 Flag

I spent the entire Bush years pissed off. Too many forces were at work seeking to deprive me, and the people I love, of basic civil rights. I read Frank Rich this morning, a columnist for whom I have enormous respect, and I respectfully disagree with him.

Rich believes the "culture" wars are over. Funny how the culture wars look a lot like issues of the body, of feminism, of civil rights extended to those who are not the white, heterosexual norm upon which the Constitution was originally based.

I almost felt dismissed by Rich this morning. He inspired me so often during the Bush years, and today, I wanted to take heart from his assertion that now that the economy is so bad, nary a peep will be heard from those who poured so much energy into denying gays their rights, who passed laws to make it damn near impossible to get an abortion, who opposed embryonic stem-cell research because they claimed it would lead to a harvesting of embryos. Gosh. If I could live in that world, where it's all over and my side won, I'd be happy.

But he bases his assertions on the fact that President Obama has made several executive pronouncements that have overturned Bush 43's hamhanded attempts to control the bodies of those who live in the United States, and that no one has cried foul. Actually, they have: in angry buzzes all across the internet. 

And, if Rich is right, and the "culture wars" are over, why am I still angry, in fact, why do I have agita that these issues have not been settled?

Perhaps I have a problem with the term "culture wars." I suppose one person's culture kerfuffle is another person's life-or-death matter.

If I am a lesbian whose partner is ill and I cannot get her health benefits because the company I work for does not consider same-sex relationships to be marriages, how does that become "culture" rather than crucial?

If I am a 15-year old who finds myself pregnant in South Dakota, and the closest place I can get an abortion is hundreds of miles away, and every nearby state has a parental notification law, and my mother will beat me and throw me into the street if she finds out I'm pregnant, is this a culture war, or is my life at stake?

If I have Parkinson's, and I've watched my motor skills deteriorate over the past eight years because my doctors were hamstrung in their abilities to look for a cure, and now I'll probably die before the new embryonic stem-cell lines can start looking for an improvement for me, am I part of a culture war? Or was this life or death for me?

If I'm a gay teenager in Wyoming who is beaten within an inch of my life, but I live in a state that doesn't recognize hate crimes, and so this is treated like a Saturday night bar fight and the other guy gets a slap on the wrist, is that a culture war? Or is it life and death?

Even as Rich proclaims that on a national level, we're all done with this, I can news google search issues like abortion or gay rights or whatever else you want to relegate to the culture war category, and I see its effects on real people.

If we are really to interrogate the term "culture war," then can't we see the current economic crisis as a culture war writ large? We had people among us who believed that they were entitled to fuck with our money, gamble our economic futures, take our nation into the shoals of certain shipwreck because they believed themselves to be (as the AIG asshat who wants to pay bonuses keeps insisting they are) the best and the brightest? In other words, perhaps the culture wars are at the heart of the economic crisis, as the plutocrats in this country decided that the rest of us were culturally inferior, didn't matter, and they could do whatever they decided was right for the rest of us?

Isn't that what the culture wars were about? Control?

to be continued....

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Good Goddess this is good! How perfectly you argue regarding perspective.

I guess this is the moral relativism I hear is so bad, huh?

(ahem..)
I second Persephone, this is beautifully written. I have not read the post to which you refer (will when I have the chance today) but staright off I must say I do not think the 'culture wars' are over just like the 'war on terrorism' or the 'war on drugs' cannot not end neither can culutral clashes. There is too much diversity, history and difference of opinion in the country and the world for everyone to always get along. We just have to respect each other and make sure we can live with ourselves at the end of the day.
flw,
Your points are well taken and a the same time I read Rich as saying that the culture wars are diminished. He describes the cycle of these things and is saying that the moral absolutists have had their day, and are now in a cyclical downturn. I hope he is right, and if so, the Newts and Sarah's and Rush's will continue to slide into relative oblivion in terms of influence. We'll see.
Good provocative post for early on Sunday morning. Thanks.
"obsolescence of culture wars as a political crutch" is the message I received. His wasn't moral relativism, in my humble opinion. Ongoing vs. over - when he gave examples of "downsized to more of a minority" - seems like a straw man argument on your part. Great discussion topic for a Sunday morning even though we disagree.
I agree with the three of you: I want to say that I do HOPE that we will stop fighting over these things, and what ultimately will prevail is the right of each person to determine how s/he controls his or her body. I guess I'm just not as confident as Rich. (As much as I admire him.) I have two daughters, and many gay and lesbian friends, and when I am confident that they are safe from those who seek to control (and in some cases, obliterate) them are quiescent, then maybe I can relax. Thanks for the comments, y'all.
Stacey,
I guess I don't see myself as setting up a strawman argument. As Rich says,
What’s been revealing about watching conservatives debate their fate since their Election Day Waterloo is how, the occasional Frum excepted, so many of them don’t want to confront the obsolescence of culture wars as a political crutch. They’d rather, like Cantor, just change the subject — much as they avoid talking about Bush and avoid reckoning with the doomed demographics of the G.O.P.’s old white male base. To recognize all these failings would be to confront why a once-national party can now be tucked into the Bible Belt.

But, I think once they have reoriented themselves to what's going on, I think these attacks on others are going to continue. As unemployment rises, will people riot? Will there be greater call for women to sacrifice their jobs so that men can regain their rightful place as breadwinner? Will we see certain states that will resemble the Jim Crow south in the 1950s and 1960s?
Rich argues that the Great Depression quieted the "culture wars," but while it may have happened on the national scene, certainly it continued to occur in places across the country. I don't think you can say the culture wars are over because it's not having a direct impact on the people in DC.
Believe me, out here in the country, we see evidence of this stuff. (Like people standing in front of a local post office telling "illegal immigrants" to go home.)
I think you and I are not too far apart on our thinking. I appreciate your comment. It's given me things to mull over.
Excellent take on all this. Rich is more hopeful than accurate, I fear but he risks falling asleep at the wheel. In times of stress, people tend to fall back on their most comfortable biases and hide-bound prejudices. Life suddenly narrows until it looks like a ladder; you're just looking for ways to stay on your rung or advance and if someone else gets kicked off - oh well. People are snuggling up to their worst impulses in this environment, which suggests to me we're nowhere near finished with cultural warfare. If you don't believe me, look at the comments posted on AOL on nearly any subject: fear, ignorance, anger, and entitlement are the order of the day.
flw-- i read the link to rich with my objective eyes focused. I didn't see him railing against the issues you and both care passionately about. I read a piece on the utter disregard that existed for these issue during the last administration. The culture wars are prevalent and need to be extinguished; it starts with a consciousness of morality and debate. great post --rated--
There you go making sense again. Only the plutocrats didn't decide what is right for us, they decided what was right for them.
Evil we have with us always. Bwahahaha. Y'all could get it together if you really tried...but I feel perfectly safe.
While I thought Rich was right about the current shift in tone, I think he underestimated the ability of the hate-and-fear mongers who use the culture wars to rebound. He mentions at the end of his piece that it took "a good forty years" after the Scopes trial for the religious right to come back.

But the fundamentalists didn't disappear right after the Scopes trial; they still had a solid base when I was young. They weren't as large or powerful as they have become, but they had influence.

However, both my father (who was a kid back during the Scopes trial) and I thought they were gradually fading away, that more enlightened forms of religion and intellectual thinking would eventually win out. Neither of us expected the incredible growth of the religious right either politically or religiously.

Those megachurches are still out there and even thought I think a majority of people in this country support abortion rights, stem cell research, gay rights, and so forth, I'm not ever going to underestimate the religious right again.

I look forward to reading your ideas on the intersection of the economic collapse and the culture wars. Here's my take, to get your juices flowing: Bush was elected to be president for Enron (and Halliburton, AIG and all the rest of big business, but scams like Enron make the best metaphor). And, under cover of the culture wars, not to mention the shooting wars, that's exactly what he did: made the country safe for the speculators who imploded our financial system. The culture wars hurt real people, as you point out, and they prevent us from really addressing the very serious problems facing humankind (overpopulation and climate change, for starters), but they were never intended as anything other than a distraction to keep people scared and willing to go along while the very rich got richer and the big corporations got more powerful.

Thanks for getting me to think on Sunday morning.
On phone browser so can't write much besides amen and thank you for this.
Another take: The GOP is, and has been for my lifetime, the party of the religious social conservative (or "hateful, Bible-bashing, snake-handling, homophobic, sexist, racist, xenophobic asswipe," if you prefer). Those people, "the base," are not going to simply disappear as a result of the economy's dire state (although, as Rich argues, the issues about which they are particularly concerned may not garner as much national attention).

But why does Rich gloat about the GOP's failure to change? Why does David Frum (whose recent blog post Rich cites) lament the face that it does not? Change into what? Into the Democratic Party?

I find this argument -- "American socio-cultural demographics are changing, certain new 'generational consensus' is emerging, the GOP must change with the times" -- terribly cynical and somewhat ridiculous. Would progressives decide to abandon a pro-choice position if the country were populated by a majority of religious fundamentalist who exclusively vote for pro-life candidates? Would we just throw the LGBT equality movement under the bus? I would hope not.

Likewise, Frum pisses me off when he suggests the GOP should drop (e.g.) its irrational and extraordinarily harmful politics of gay-hate. Hating gays is, after all, a core GOP principle! Frum and his kind (the arguably oxymoronic "conservative intellectual") had no compunction with exploiting [insert "culture war" issue here] to get their disasterous laizzez-faire / neoconservative policies implemented by buffoons like Bush 43. For them now to suggest abandoning those core principles out of sheer electoral calculus -- well, I suppose it just reveals how terribly (morally?) bankrupt the ostensibly more "reasonable" side of the GOP is.

Indeed, as a gay man, I would much rather include in my polity somelike like Sarah Palin (who really believes that I am a wretched abomination who should be smited dead by God) than someone like David Frum (who really believes that I deserve equality but will parrot the "wretched abomination" line if it permits him to have his policies implemented).
Nancy Jane: We were posting at the same time and apparently also reading one another's minds. I agree with your post thoroughly, but would tweak your "distraction" point a little (as I did in my post).
You are correct and Rich is way gone on this one. I suggest anyone who thinks the cultural wars are over or visit this sick site: Rapture Ready....
In terms of culture wars and financial wars. As my partner said to me last night when we were hearing what went down between Geitner and AIG: this is class warfare. I need to think about how much class and the culture wars are intertwined. I mean, there has been a tendency to see these issues as between the educated and the non-educated, but Thomas Frank argued a long time ago that the Republicans manipulate the culture wars to their advantage despite the fact that they have failed to deliver on a complete overturn of Roe v Wade, or a Marriage Amendment. My question, that i don't have an answer to, is how much class warfare plays a role in this.

After all, I have often said that we've been handed "bread and circuses" for a long time. Now what are we going to do that few of us can afford either?
Perhaps Frank Rich is trying to inspire the faithful into not allowing themselves to become totally sidetracked by the bad economy. Rich could be right, but he does not have to be. That is up to you and me.
We only disagree on what Frank Rich was saying, not everything else you said. I didn't get "war is over" from the op/ed at all. And if I understand you main point of disagreement with Rich, it's in your second paragraph: "Rich believes the 'culture' wars are over." I read that and I went back to find a quote of Rich to support you. I didn't find one. When the "political crutch" was most potent, it would win the day, regardless of logic. That's the part I believe he finds obsolete - that you can count on swaying a majority of Americans by framing your argument in terms of (I admit without arguing with you one iota) the ongoing culture war.
I see your point, Stacey. But I actually think that the culture wars will resurface as national issues--I'm not sure how long it will be--but I think it will be a lot sooner than his optimistic "perhaps 40 years." So, yes. We're in agreement.
I have nothing to add other than "Right on!"
Cultural imperatives are all about survival and order, so culture war is an apt term, I think. Perhaps more focus should be given to the over-used "war" than to the benign sounding "culture," though.

If Frank thinks the culture war is over, he should come out here to California, where we are looking at a situation where the right of same sex couples to wed could change every two years, at each statewide election, depending on which side lost the last round and is more motivated to get out the vote.

Wonderful post, as all your posts are. Rated.
I agree with Stacey Youdin ... You present a good perspective, and food-for-thought, but Rich is only saying the zipperheads of the Right Wing Freak show are in retreat ...

It will be up to Obama, and all of this, to continue to clean up the mess made, right the wrongs, and keep moving positively forward ...

Peace
JTD
Having spent several years covering conservative evangelical Christians for our documentary film, "What's the Matter with Kansas?" I can testify that the election of Obama has not suddenly ended the culture wars. These are generational conflicts - whether of not you buy Thomas Frank's thesis that the social issues are a misdirected form of class resentment.

What we did find from our filmed subjects was something more subtle - crusades against abortion and gay marriage were stoked by people's real fears of disintegrating families (often partly because of economic inequality) and a vanishing way of life (perhaps inevitable, but made all the more unbearable by the coarseness of contemporary popular culture.)

We think this might help: deal with people's real fears about the future of their families, and their place in the culture, and the scapegoating will largely go away.
There are the "culture wars" as a set of political tactics used by the right to divide, confuse, and, conquer; and then there is the state of the real culture, defined well outside partisan politics, by educators, artists, and real thinkers.

If the "culture wars" are over, or, if the promoters of it have been sidelined for a while, it's time during this window of opportunity to refocus and deal with the collapse of the real culture, which the phony "culture wars" made worse for the most part.

Even if these nuts are hollering in the wilderness for now, they'll be back.

Batten down the hatches.
Lorraine:

I read Rich's column as saying something less than that the culture wars are completely "over," but rather that there is finally a disconnect between the party that encouraged the culture wars and gained some power because of the culture wars and the culture warriors that supported that party.

The right wing religious cultural warriors are still there but they no longer have a guaranteed national soapbox from which to spew their vitriol, that even the uber conservatives in the Republican party are reluctant to focus long on the specific hot button items given the changing tone in the nation and the strength of the new Administration as shown in polls, etc.

I read his message as hopeful, but ambiguous. He was, to me, not clear as to whether he was talking about the wars being in some sense "over" and his hope that they were. Rich is not the clearest writer in the best of times and this column reflects that.

My own take of the country at this time is that there will always be cultural warriors. The issue is less that they will disappear than it is whether they will weild the political power that they once did. I believe that the social conservative core of the Republican base will continue to support and in many cases be, cultural warriors. But that base will not in the short run have the clout to affect the national agenda as it did after Carter.

The irony is that the one thing that can bring that base back to power would be the failure of the current center-left Administration in solving issues not directly related to the culture wars: the economy, the "war" on terror, and the insistence on trading the war in Iraq for the war in Afghanistan, which I believe is folly at its worst.

That there will always be culture wars in the more conservative parts of the county, like where I live, is a given. Whether there will be national culture wars on many issues in the immediate future depends on the success of other issues.

I think that Rich's ambivolence make arguing against him detracts for your point since it is not gets people like me to look at whether or not you or Rich is "right" rather than looking at your points on their merits.

Your excellent arguments would better stand on the merits of the more realistic truth of the continuance of the culture wars on a regional, state and local scale. That is a truth that is not ambivalent, and one that you make very clearly.

Monte
The penultimate paragraph above reads like I was on drugs when I wrote it. Obviously, I wish we could edit our own comments.

It should read:

I think that, because of Rich's ambivolence, arguing against him detracts for your point because it gets people like me to focus on whether or not you or Rich is "right" rather than looking at your points on their merits.
Well put. Rated. I had the same reaction when I read the column - "Oh, how I wish it were going to be that easy." You are so right; it won't be. Just wait. And I love your point about how this is not about "culture" at all, really - it's about basic rights that are critically important to the people concerned.

Thanks for yet another great post. And by the way, I love your peregrine falcon avatar. If you did a post about choosing it, I missed it. I'm a big peregrine fan myself (in my life outside politics). Right now there are pairs nesting on webcams in both San Francisco and San Jose. Check it out - go here and click on the "Nest Cameras" link. Just eggs now, so not that much fun to watch, but once they hatch - best nature show to be had anywhere on the planet!
Two standouts in the right's "culture wars" now represent the face of the GOP, barely two months after the start of the new administration.

Rich refers to them in his piece.

Their images should be hung, side by side, in every bar and pub in the nation, so people can focus on real cultural matters while they have cold one and practice their dart games.

The targets are the meta-hypocrites Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Apropos my previous post, David Frum took a turn this morning at one of those dreadful Sunday morning "news" (?) shows to espouse his take on Michael Steele:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/15/frum-attacks-on-steele-ma_n_175072.html

The short: Steele is great for coming out as pro-choice (his subsequent backpedaling aside) because the GOP needs to abandon its rigid stance on abortion in order to win votes.
Apropos my previous post, David Frum took a turn this morning at one of those dreadful Sunday morning "news" (?) shows to espouse his take on Michael Steele:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/15/frum-attacks-on-steele-ma_n_175072.html

The short: Steele is great for coming out as pro-choice (his subsequent backpedaling aside) because the GOP needs to abandon its rigid stance on abortion in order to win votes.
What I think F. Rich wanted to say, if I may, is -

America might, just might, be waking up to the fact that the culture wars and warriors, are at best a smokescreen and at worst, completely hypocritical and morally bankrupt.

As much as I'd like to believe that were true, I agree with you that he is likely wrong. Right now, they are sleeping and letting Obama take the heat for the financial crisis. But, they will regroup and come out with new warriors - they may look slicker and younger with names like Pawlenty and Jindal - but they will be just as willing to impose their visions of moral superiority upon the rest of us.
One good thing you can take away from that column is that it will take another 40 years for the Bill Bennetts of the world to hold sway again with hypocritical moralism. People will be too busy recouping basics. I think that gives a better shot at the changes we want as the generations change and the country becomes more tolerant.
I'm a little troubled by the issues that you mention as proof of the continuation of the culture war. You seem to be saying that the culture war won't be over until the "liberal" viewpoint prevails on every issue.

In other words, it seems that you won't declare "peace" until every issue has been resolved to your satisfaction. As you say "If I could live in that world, where it's all over and my side won, I'd be happy." If "total victory" is the price of peace, then it seems there is no room for compromise. If so, are the concerns of conservatives just ignored?
I live right smack in the middle of the Bible Belt and believe me, here in Georgia, the rumblings are pretty nasty. I fear our state legislature is going to rule my kind out of existence as they move to protect our state from the liberal socialism of President Obama. Despite this, I feel much more emboldened then I have for the last eight years and keep going on rants even though I try not to.
Mishima: How does one compromise on the issue (just to take one "culture war" issue, and the one nearest and dearest to me) of LGBT equality? You can't. Just like you can't "compromise" on racism. It's either right or wrong. Blacks are either inferior to whites or they aren't. The government should either discriminate against them or it shouldn't. (Abortion may be a different matter, but I state no position on that issue. I would love to hear from other posters what they believe, however.)
Mishima,
I do hear you. I was being a bit facetious when I said that I'd be happy if I was convinced that my side had won, but I don't see these issues as merely academic. For example, I have two daughters whose reproductive freedoms I will continue to defend. I have gay friends who I fear for; even now, they still can't claim that they're married, and thus, even in New York state, must continually work to safeguard their most basic freedoms. There are things I'm willing to compromise on, but as I've stated before, I feel the issue of having sovereignty over your own body is the most basic right of all--and if that is under attack from those who want to impose their views on my body, yes, I'll continue to feel threatened.
It's why I feel so strongly, and why I may seem as if I'm unwilling to compromise. But imagine for a moment a law that said that all men must undergo vasectomies at the age of 25, or all men must serve in the military, or all men must do anything, and perhaps my "fear" or whatever we may call it, might seem more like a defense of human rights and less like I just want my own way.
I'm not trying to take away anyone's freedoms. If you're against abortion, don't have one. If you're against gay marriage, don't get one. If you're against stem cell research, then don't agree to participate in drug trials dependent on them. But please don't try to tell me that a zygote floating through my Fallopian tubes means that I'm now committed to risking death, permanent injury, and the lifelong commitment of carrying a child.
I'm sorry, Mishima. I realize I'm sounding harsh. I'm not trying to. I'm passionate about this stuff, that's all. And I'm passionate because I really don't see it as just some question about which side of the culture wars I'm on.
Well said, BUT aren't you glad that the Moral Majority and its ilk are out of our bedrooms and don't you agree that it it wonderful that their "power" is so much less than it has been and that they cannot distract us from things with their stupid stupid and inane arguments? I, for one, am very happy, and I think that is to what Mr. Rich was referring. I like his piece and thought he made a lot of sense this morning.
Oh, Lisa. I do agree. Yes, they're not on our national televisions every single day, but I do think they're work is unceasing and as a woman for whom these issues are crucial, I think it's too early to let down my guard.
Well done. A beautifully put together indictment of those who make such sweeping declarations.

As long as there are humans, there will be culture wars. The humans could all be clones of Zumalicious and they would find a way to identify and codify and enforce their differences.

You should be writing out there in the sanctioned ether.
Oh Zuma. I love it. The sanctioned ether. I wonder what the air is like out there?
Thanks.
@Lisa: "Well said, BUT aren't you glad that the Moral Majority and its ilk are out of our bedrooms and don't you agree that it it wonderful that their "power" is so much less than it has been and that they cannot distract us from things with their stupid stupid and inane arguments?"

Good for you. But unfortunately for me, they are still squarely in my bedroom and my relationship with my partner of 22 years. In fact, here in California, it doesn't feel at all as though their power is less. They were able to change our constitution and strip us of an existing right to marry. So it's still front and center for some of us.
While people's attention is focused on the economic meltdown right now, I am certain culture wars will flare up again with gay marriage as the next front.
You spent the entire Bush years pissed off? What a sad commentary on your life. Whenever you rely on someone else for your happiness, particularly someone in government, you are going to sadly dispappointed.
I could see being sad and pissed off if you lived under the rule of Pol Pot, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Mugabe, but for Pete's sake, lets not get carried away.
The culture wars will never be over. There are always going to be those who want to push more progressive ideas forward, and there are always going to be those who oppose them.

What is extremely disappointing to me is that the culture wars include things like evolution versus creationism. Things like that show me that the average American -- only 38 percent of whom believe that evolution is fact -- is sadly ignorant. And as long as huge number of Americans remain ignorant, the culture wars will continue.
I'm hoping he's right, and I do think we've turned a corner in some way, but I don't trust that it will hold. People are fickle. If the Dems don't fix the economy, the people will be crying for whoever can look like a savior and human rights be damned as a cost. That's what happened after 9/11 when too many people thought there was a terrorist around every corner. Fear is the ultimate motivator...including of stupid behavior.

It wasn't long ago that the Repubs thought they were building a "permanent majority" and would rule the country in a 1,000 year reich....oops, I'm conflating them with another party. Anyway, they came tumbling down all too quickly and the Dems/liberals can, too.

The heartening thing is...I think Obama knows this. Very well.
Frank Rich wrong? My God man, I question when has he ever been right?
Culture Wars are not over, I fear. My brother recently posted a www letter. He admitted in the letter that he has voted for every Republican including Reagan, Dole, and W. Bush.

And now, he finally voted for Obama, a Democrat, and he expects us to cheer and boost him up into our admiration. He does not even understand that admitting to voting twice for W. Bush might be considered a crime.

The right-wingers including my brother Joe do not get it. They still are ready to fight. They will be fightin'-mad if we do not give them amnesty for all their crimes against humanity.
Good strong post. I agree.
Rated
Tom Neely
Are you at all serious about it being a crime to have cast a vote for a candidate in a national election? Should we have in the future an approved candidate for all good citizens to vote for, and if that is the case, why not do away with the election and just have a panel of people to appoint someone for our own good.
So many people that do not think like you is a real problem. Darn them all, they know not.
Don't get me started!! AAH!! I am old enough to remember when abortion was illegal in this country and had two friends go to Mexico for theirs. When they came back they both ended up in the hospital nearly bleeding to death. You are obviously a passionate person.

Watch this: Tales of Passion

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/isabel_allende_tells_tales_of_passion.html
It's a good thing, not a bad thing, to have been pissed off for eight great years of Bush.

Now, there's room for improvement, despite the sudden return of Darth Cheney. Someone please put him in a potato sack and tie it up tight.

Everything's looking up from the bottom of the elevator shaft.

So, for whatever time the whack jobs of American high morality are quarantined somewhere around Little Rock, we need to get about the business of a massive rebuilding project, out of the rubble of our 21st century bananarama republic.

Leaving aside the various moral ticks, expressed from deep within the country - and those wars - some "furriners," like the Chinese, are asking for U.S. guarantees on the humongous debt we owe them; and, ahead of the G-20 economic summit, the Germans and the French (How fucking dare they, those old Europeans?) are saying Washington isn't just going to swagger around the felt table call the shots on the presumed worldwide economic bounceback.

Sounds like the decent opinion of mankind at work.

Why don't we listen?

After all, in the eyes of some in the world, we're not exactly seen as playing with a full deck anymore, and those folks out there in the big world probably don't give one damn about our parochial culture wars anyway, any more than they care that Sarah Palin's daughter broke up with her hockey star boyfriend/husband/father, and maybe, deadbeat dad.

Let's get to work before the "cultural" warriors break out of the pen, or wangle a parole.

Time's a wastin'.
Tony - maybe it is people like you that keep the culture wars going with your inflammatory thoughts. 62% of people think a certain and you call them ignorant. I am a scientist and I believe in evolution, but science cannot explain everything. Right now the best is can do is a big bang theory. No one will ever know the real mysteries of the universe. No one knows how life started, it is a theory. But apparently you know. Why don't you write up your proofs in a scientific journal. You chose to believe what you want, but it is a belief. Then you call 62% of other people ignorant.
You are arrogant. Of all political/social issues to debate, you pick one that no one will ever know the answer to and are arrogant enough. Just maybe many people recognize evolution has occurred but also believe in something larger. Apparently you have no tolerance for them because you are smarter.
ChicagoLawyer78 writes: "How does one compromise on the issue (just to take one "culture war" issue, and the one nearest and dearest to me) of LGBT equality? You can't. Just like you can't "compromise" on racism. It's either right or wrong."

Sure you can. Take racism. The last 150 years have seen huge changes, but they didn't happen all at once. We didn't have slavery one day and Obama the next.

The fact is that when "we the people" can actually vote on same-sex marriage, most don't vote in favor of it. Maybe they will next month or next year.

fingerlakeswanderer writes: "I'm sorry, Mishima. I realize I'm sounding harsh. I'm not trying to. I'm passionate about this stuff, that's all."

Yeah, passion, there's a lot of that going around these days on both sides. Should your passion totally trump the passion on the other side?

Dana Douglas writes: "They were able to change our constitution and strip us of an existing right to marry. So it's still front and center for some of us."

Well, "they" happened to be a majority of the voters, right? Not just the religious right. The right to which you refer existed for, what, four months, and was based on a 4 to 3 court decision as I recall.

Frankly, what I found disturbing when the right wing was ascendant was not so much their agenda, but their "winner-take-all" attitude -- the idea that because they happen to hold power at the moment that all of these issues should be totally resolved in their favor.

Now that the "liberals" are in power, it's not clear to me that these same issues should now be resolved totally in *their* favor. Is that really how we want things to work? Any time someone invokes the word "rights" there is no compromise?
To the OP - Don't you think your examples are a bit extreme. A kid who is gong to get beat to death for getting pregnant. What about the kid who won't and whose parents want to make sure she gets the best advice and medical care possible. Sometimes the many outweigh the few.

On stem cell research all Bush did was stop gov funding. Personally I don't any gov funding of this. Not because I care about the moral issue. But because I know private enterprise will figure it out.
And Bush did allow the existing lines of research continue. And I have not heard one report by any scientist indicating that any miracles were lost because of this. And my guess is there will be no miracles in the near future just because of Obamas order. I see no evidence of lost time. This is a political culture war point that I think is absolutely moot. The research has and will go on.

Getting beat half to death and it is treated like a bar fight. Well lets assume that is true. It that how it should be treat for anyone else that gets beat half to death who is not gay. I say one penalty for all.
Instead of hate crimes getting stiffer penalties, why didn't we just stiffen all the penalties. Isn't that what is really fair. Do you think you will really feel worse them me after getting beat. Is it any less a crime because they just wanted my money and it wasn't "personal".

Well I want it all to be over and everything to be on my side too. I am one of those white men. And I can promise life is difficult for everyone in some way or another. And no political philosophy has ever made it just right for me either. No can life make it right.
Joseph, yes, those who believe in creationism and think that evolution isn't fact are ignorant. And I don't give a rat's ass if that statement pisses you and your ilk off. Go shoot yourself in the head if it bothers you. Do the world a favor and remove yourself from the gene pool. It needs plenty of chlorine.

And yes, I am smarter than those individuals, because they are a bunch of ignorant dumbasses. If that bothers you, I don't care.
Tony Wang, you are a true prince, so tolerant, so open-minded, a real inspiration. What the world needs now, is more people like you who wish others would shoot themselves in the head. How do you come up with such wonderful insights?
Tell you what, dunbar. In your case, I'll even buy you the bullets. You'll need a few.

Why?

Because you're so clearly part of the gene pool that needs chlorine that if you put a gun to your head and pulled the trigger, it'd take you several attempts before you actually hit the target.
I am sure you would make a fine storm trooper if ever you are given the chance. All those fine SS guys in Hitler's Germany would have probably led bitter lives most likely similiar to yours but for the opportunity provided by Der Fuhrer to put many bullets in peoples heads that did not think like them, or maybe were considered an inferior race or intellect. Examine yourself closely Wang, you may be horrified by what you find.
Please excuse the long run-on sentence.
Well Tony I think evolution passed you by.
dunbar - Tony has already proved to me in the past that he cannot forgive a grammatical error. After all, he is smarter than 62% of us.
Culture wars cannot end because culture is what holds together a society as much as a currency or an army.
The United States has lost its cultural unity dating to the 1960's, which means it has to find a new dominant ethos, so that struggle, as they say, ain't over, until it is over, although generational change matters, and globalization too.
the latter has also de-stabilized the u.s cultural order, and has historically speaking triggered the search for the new, which is the bright side of all this. rated.