When I was growing up in the 1940s and â€™50, most people lived in a style we considered â€œnormal,â€ although we didnâ€™t really call it that. The country simply accepted that it was so. Marriage and families were central components of â€œnormalâ€ American life. There were widows and widowers, of course, as well as divorced and never-married people. But unmarried women having children were relatively rare. So was unmarried cohabitation. Divorce was accepted, but not exactly condoned. No doubt some people had homosexual relationships, but they mostly stayed below the radar. Majorities of people attended church or synagogue. Schools reinforced all this. The Normal Culture crossed racial and ethnic lines. The country was founded on it.
Much has changed since that simpler time. It is now considered politically incorrect â€“ racist, even â€“ to claim that there is such a thing as a Normal Culture in America. â€œPostmodernâ€ liberals â€“ i.e., primarily the Democratic Partyâ€™s leftist wing â€“ worship at the shrine of diversity. This goes far beyond race or national origin. Liberals today condone nearly any lifestyle, family arrangement, and sexual behavior â€“ unless patriotism or Christianity is somehow involved. What we used to call the â€œnuclear familyâ€ â€“ e.g., Ward and June Cleaver and their minor-age sons â€“ is now mocked as hopelessly dated, unrealistic, female-oppressive, trans-phobic and white-supremacist. Every vestige of religious faith has been deliberately driven from public schools and the public square. Secularism is ascendant. Big media are fully on board with all this.
But despite a strong diversity sales-job by academics, liberal elites and media, much of America still believes in (and adheres to) the Normal Culture. Its ethos includes faith, patriotism, mom-and-pop families, obeying the law, respect for authority, respect for people and their property, ambition, personal responsibility, honesty, generosity, commitment, charity, decency, courage, honor, and chivalry. Normal Culture people donâ€™t necessarily follow these principles perfectly, of course, but they are still aspired to as the ideal.
Normal Culture denizens will tolerate those who live in other ways, but they donâ€™t want their culture disrespected, and they donâ€™t like to be pushed around. They particularly donâ€™t want deviant lifestyles declared equivalent â€“ or superior â€“ to theirs. They want public schools and churches to emphasize and reinforce Normal Culture values â€“ although that hope is somewhat degraded nowadays.
Perhaps imagining that they had stomped the Normal Culture to death, Democrats have become quite bold about approving and even championing lifestyles like unmarried cohabitation, single parenting, militant homosexuality, and gay marriage. Late-term abortion is Demsâ€™ cause cÃ©lÃ¨bre. Transgender males competing in and dominating womenâ€™s sports have become a contentious and divisive issue in high schools and colleges. These bizarre lifestyles and practices are promoted in the public schools, and even accepted in some mainline churches. The Democrat Partyâ€™s political base is now dominated by groups that advocate deviance.
Deviance, in fact, has disappeared from the psychiatric lexicon, and there are few limits on either private or public behavior. Intolerance is now the greatest social sin; sexual promiscuity, not so much. Acceptance (or not) of â€œsame-sex marriageâ€ has become a serious point of contention for Christian-based colleges, which have long denied entre, on religious grounds, to individuals who advocate or practice sexual deviance. Some social observers believe legalized sexual relationships between adults and children are just around the corner.
Heterosexual, middle-class white men and their families are todayâ€™s forgotten ex-Democrats; ditto, whites from the American South. Their estrangement from Thomas Jeffersonâ€™s and FDRâ€™s â€œparty of the common manâ€ has been happening gradually for years, although not all Democrat politicians have realized the drift.
Recent elections have demonstrated the extent of the schism between Democrats and the Normal Culture. In November, newcomer Glenn Youngkin shocked political graybeards in reliably-blue Virginia by decisively defeating former Democrat governor Terry McAuliff for the governorship. Mr. Youngkin ran on a solid conservative platform that emphasized votersâ€™ right to choose the health-measures which suit them best, and parentsâ€™ rights to have their children educated in Normal Culture values instead of radical, race-centered social doctrine. Mr. McAuliff tried to align himself with teachersâ€™ unions by telling parents they shouldnâ€™t â€œinterfereâ€ in their childrenâ€™s education, but the strategy went over like a lead balloon.
Attacks on Christianity have become standard fare for liberal organizations like the ACLU. This has offended Normal Culture adherents. But, more than that, both blacks and Hispanics â€“ historically, some of the Democratic Partyâ€™s most faithful constituencies â€“ have become increasingly alarmed by the Partyâ€™s anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, pro-deviancy, and pro-abortion direction. These ethnic and racial minorities are openly questioning whether their continued association with the Democratic Party is appropriate or productive, given its anti-Christian drift.
Although he is lionized by far-left Democrats as a hero of the first rank in their presidential Pantheon, Bill Clinton actually did much damage to his partyâ€™s once-solid identification with the Normal Culture. Photo-ops of Mr. Clinton carrying a Bible on his way to church notwithstanding, his â€œbimbo-eruptionsâ€ â€“ capped by a disastrous, highly publicized dalliance with a young White House intern â€“ finally tipped the boat over. Bubbaâ€™s scandalous conduct arguably cost Al Gore the 2000 presidential election, and might have similarly damaged Hillaryâ€™s 2008 and 2016 presidential tries. Big Media never says so, but itâ€™s clear that the Normal Culture is no longer part of the Clinton fan club. Mrs. Clinton certainly knows this very well. I doubt if she will try for the presidency again in 2024, at age 77.
President Obama brought a special cachet as the nationâ€™s first non-white president. The wild enthusiasm for his attractive persona, his good-looking family, his immaculately creased trousers, and his mellifluous words allowed Democrats to hope that their traditional connection with the Normal Culture could be restored. So it seemed in 2008, when the Obama candidacy swept over the country like a great wave of good feeling. Implicitly promising voters everything they might ever want, The One actually spelled out very little. He said only that he would â€œfundamentally changeâ€ the country, which he certainly did.
It soon became clear that President Obama had no particular interest in helping Normal Culture people who were hurting for work and yearning for financial recovery. His $1 trillion stimulus package in 2009 â€“ ostensibly to fund â€œshovel-readyâ€ infrastructure jobs â€“ mostly bailed out overspent Democratic state and local governments. He rejected all Republican proposals to lower taxes for the middle class, while simultaneously imposing regulations that raised fuel and electricity costs. Enacting the Affordable Health Care Act â€“ a.k.a. â€œObamacareâ€ â€“ was the final clout to the chops that awoke many Normal Culture voters. In the 2010 elections, Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives and their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
Mr. Obama ran a successful re-election campaign in 2012, but made no attempt to reconnect to the Normal Culture. Instead, he essentially ran against it. His Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, was a quintessential Normal Culture guy: honest, decent, and reasonable; a former governor skilled at working across the political aisle; a faithful husband of one wife for many years, and father of a fine family of good-looking sons; a successful business executive; etc. Who could possibly object to such an exemplary man?
Answer: The Democrats could. With Big Media’s help, the Obama campaign managed to smear Mr. Romney as a heartless tycoon who killed women by denying them health-care and made gazillions by busting up companies and putting people out of work. He was baselessly accused of abusing animals, bullying childhood friends, and cheating on his taxes.
Besides this slimy assault on Gov. Romneyâ€™s character, Democrats also launched a hysterical campaign that accused Republicans of waging a â€œwar on womenâ€ which (they said) was centered on denying women access to birth control. Further injured by IRS corruption that denied tax-exempt status to conservative activist groups and effectively kept some 4 million GOP voters away from the polls, Mr. Romney was handily defeated by Obama.
The 2012 presidential election was essentially a mirage in which artificial issues replaced matters that were the Normal Cultureâ€™s true concerns. The mediaâ€™s preoccupation with Mr. Romneyâ€™s bogus flaws and the contrived â€œRepublican war on womenâ€ combined to divert votersâ€™ attention away from the Obama administrationâ€™s incompetence long enough to get him elected to a second term. Indeed, the Inaugurationâ€™s grandstands were still being dismantled when the lid blew off and all the stinking garbage of scandal and incompetence came pouring out.
Obama administration scandals in domestic and foreign affairs have been examined in some detail in earlier articles of this column, so I wonâ€™t rehearse that review. But any correct list must include:
- The fatal attack on the Benghazi Embassy;
- Political corruption of the IRS;
- National Security Agencyâ€™s spying on American citizens;
- FBIâ€™s harassment of media reporters;
- CIAâ€™s spying on Senator Diane Feinstein and others;
- American troop-withdrawals from Iraq that let the Islamic State movement emerge;
- VA-hospital mismanagement that resulted in substandard treatment of wounded veterans;
- Failure to keep Ebola cases out of the USA.
After one of the most incompetent presidencies in American history, people of the Normal Culture finally had enough. In massive numbers they broke with the Democratic Party and delivered the most stinging electoral rebuke of modern times by electing a bold, trash-talking New Yorker who could give as good as he got.
Democrats spent four years fighting Mr. Trump â€“ primarily by arguing that he was an asset of the Russians, whose collusion got him elected. Ultimately, Dems convinced Independents â€“ much offended by Mr. Trumpâ€™s raucous â€œstyleâ€ â€“ that stay-in-the-basement Joe Biden would restore â€œsensibleâ€ government and reconnect with Normal Culture interests.
But that hope and expectation was ruinously dashed, from Day One of the Biden presidency, by exploding energy prices, millions of illegals pouring across our borders, deficit-spending that would make a drunken sailor blush, galloping inflation, and presidential COVID-mandates that weakened the country by driving thousands out of our armed forces and medical-care ranks. Now Biden officials and their acolytes are cheering for a â€œwarâ€ in which 8,500 American troops will supposedly scare 140,000 Russian troops away from invading Ukraine. Those GIs â€“ fully vaccinated though they may be â€“ will be just sacrificial lambs when the Russkies roll over them. A war with Russia, in the shape we’re in? Tell me they’re kidding.
Normal Culture people know the country is teetering on the brink of ruin. They hope we can hang on until voters right the Ship of State in November, but it will be a â€œdamned close-run thingâ€ (as the Duke of Wellington said of Waterloo).
The myth that Democrats are guardians of the Normal Cultureâ€™s interests is broken, and hopefully weâ€™ll be wise to the next slick-talking Pretender in a $2,000 suit who comes along to promise that he has all the answers. If Republicans play their cards right and follow the model set by Glenn Youngkin and other Republican governors across the country, it will be some time before Democrats can recreate that myth. With any luck, it will be never.
â€œA troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet, and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart â€“ he always stirs up conflict. Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed â€“ without remedy.â€ (Proverbs 6:12-15)
â€œThe wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.â€ (Proverbs 28:1)