The only thing I would recommend changing slightly is the opposition to gay marriage. We should absolutely hold the line on protecting religious liberty — and we should continue the conversation on marriage and its true purpose on a cultural level (more on that below). But surely there is some clever way we can tweak the rules for hospital visitation and the like and thereby publicly acknowledge that our LGBT fellow citizens are people with feelings that deserve our respect. Right now, many in the Obama camp – especially the folks who are my age and younger – are convinced we hate gays and wish them ill. Is this a grossly unfair characterization? For the vast majority of us, yes. But if we keep ignoring that attitude, the left will continue to hang it like an albatross around our neck. Reality is what it is, and complaining about Obama’s opportunistic flip-flop on the issue isn’t going to change that.
That being said, I believe it would be a huge mistake to abandon our identity by completely giving up the beachhead on social issues. We have a moral duty to uphold the truth, no matter how unpalatable it may sound to ears that have been stuffed with pop-cultural trash. And what is that truth, pray tell? Simply this: The promotion of radical libertinism has been an unmitigated disaster for our society. Even the academics are with us on this one; social science has illustrated time and time again that women and children in particular are struggling in our current cultural milieu. And here’s the key for those who fear the Leviathan: High divorce and out-of-wedlock birth rates not only wound millions spiritually, emotionally, and economically, but they also breed a population that looks to the state for comfort. We conservatives all thought Obama’s “Julia” info-graphic was bizarre and creepy because the eponymous character apparently had no one in her life to lean on besides the government — but to a second generation single mother, that info-graphic was comforting because she genuinely feels she has no alternative. Exit polls reveal that Obama overwhelmingly won over those voters who were looking for a leader who “understood my problems.” Were these voters wrong-headed? Hell to the yes! If you’re worried about putting gas in your car and food on your table, Obama is the last candidate you should’ve picked. More generally, a distant politician in Washington is too busy to genuinely give a rat’s butt about you personally. Still, we ignore what such an exit poll result indicates at our own peril.
Again, if we wish to maintain our honor and build a society conducive to liberty, we can’t set aside the social issues for the sake of political convenience. However, I do think we need to change our approach to the debate. Number one, I think we should hold a mandatory boot camp for all pro-life politicians in which they will be aggressively trained – with electronic dog collars if necessary – on what they should and shouldn’t say. Because really — we should never again allow the mainstream media to tarnish our brand because some well-meaning but clueless Akin put his foot – no, his whole leg – in it. Blah, blah, media bias and all that, but let me reemphasize: Reality is what it is. We should work to take down the media, yes, but in the meantime, we have to adapt. Number two, as Andrew Klavan and others have observed, we can’t be afraid to go after the culture. I saw somebody suggest in the comments of one blog that we spend our money on ads that present our pro-life, pro-family views in ways that are logical, appealing and non-threatening, and I think that’s a good idea. Personally, I nominate the young folks at 1Flesh for that task. We also need to break out of the Christian ghetto and send our kids to the viper’s den that is Hollywood to make movies and TV shows that, at the very least, won’t automatically endorse the idea that we social conservatives are imbecilic bigots who want to beat up gays and send women back to the kitchen. The arguments on our side are sound, but they’re not reaching the masses because our cultural gate keepers are blocking the transmission. I say we storm those gates.