Recently, in a conversation with a hard right individual, they started a sentence with the words “this once great country.” Well, being the calm, cool, collected person that I am, I went ballistic.
Despite our shortcomings, we are still a great country.
Thomas Frank wrote a book (2004) entitled “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” in which he detailed how conservatives have hijacked the American lower classes by appealing to “social concerns” at the expense of other issues of importance to the same groups.
(Interesting enough, the same book has been published in the UK and Australia, but using the title of this column.)
Why do folks vote against their own best interests in favor of positions against social issues like abortion, gay marriage and other “hot button” topics?
Abortions in the United States have been steadily declining since 1998. There is no reason to think that this tend will not continue, as more and more people are educated about birth control and alternatives to abortion. In my view the abortion rate is still far too high, but I feel that there are many factors in play with those statistics, not the least of which is the continuing issue of young people using proper birth control.
Gay marriage is another subject all together. Only about four percent of the American populous is gay, yet opposition to gay rights is at a seventy percent level nationwide. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that half of gay people want to get married to their partner. That would mean that there would be approximately 2.3 million gay marriages in the United States.
This bothers people? One point five percent of Americans might be in a gay marriage? The world must be coming to an end.
And for these reasons, among others, people vote against their own economic and social well-being?
The divorce rate for first marriages in America is 41%, for second marriages it is 60% and for third marriages it is 73%. If people were truly concerned about protecting “traditional marriage,” they might want to work on those totals and ignore gay folk!
(Totals skewed by Zaza Gabor, Liz Taylor and Larry King.)
Just when did we, as a society, get so wound up about topics that probably do not affect us, yet we pay little attention to those issues that will actually impact our own and our family’s lives?
(Part II tomorrow)
William Stephenson Clark