Kevin Drum riffs
on a theme that has truly interested me of late:
Over the last half century, various branches of government have also taken plenty of proactive steps to marginalize religion. Prayer in public school has been banned. Creches can no longer be set up in front of city hall. Parochial schools are forbidden from receiving public funds. The Ten Commandments can't be displayed in courtrooms. Catholic hospitals are required to cover contraceptives for their employees. Gay marriage is legal in more than a dozen states and the number is growing rapidly.
His point is that liberals have won the culture war, and we have. Conservatives are left trying to justify their cultural relevance by pathetically disassembling box office receipts like this
. (Did you know that Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais are "two of the most divisive actors working today"?)
And it goes deeper than what Drum writes. Liberal social values are deeply embedded in our culture, from pretty much everything on TV outside the Christian channels at the fringe of the channel lineup, to any movie of note. In that Breitbart link above, Nick Nolte waxes about God's Not Dead, an indie Christian film that has grossed $41 million on a production budget of $2 million. Good job! Then again, it's a blip. Captain America has grossed nearly half a billion in 10 days, with its overtly civil-libertarian and anti-neocon message. I mean, Captain America is saying that a fear-based (read: Republican) foreign policy is not the "American Way."
For a crowd that flinches at any notion of sex, it's gotta be impossible to escape sexual imagery, from advertising to media to Miley Cyrus' latest whatever-the-hell she is doing. And seriously, don't listen to song lyrics. I flinched hearing my six-year-old daughter sing along with Flo Rida's "Whistle." She was too little to understand what that song was really about, but at some point, she will. I'm not the kind of parent overly concerned with "protecting" her from that sort of thing, but if you are, it's a tough world out there.
On economic matters, the pendulum is swinging hard against the financial elite. There's a reason we get regular installments of "billionaire calls economic populists Nazis." They were used to being paragons of society. Now they are the enemy. And with populism on the rise, and with talk of income inequality routine, Reaganesque "trickle down" theories are decidedly out of favor. Why do you think Republicans are afraid to roll out their "solutions" to our problems? It's because they know their views, whether on health care or immigration or pretty much anything else, are out of touch with public opinion. Sure, there is infighting in their caucus, but it's a fight between those who think conservatism is popular and being loud-and-proud will be politically advantageous (e.g. Ted Cruz), and those who know how to read the polls.
That's not to say that we've WON won. We certainly have won the battle of ideas. But power isn't just about ideas. It's about wrestling the institutional levers of government from the retrogrades. Those entrenched economic and conservative interests wield power via the Supreme Court, through gross gerrymandering, through voter suppression efforts. So we've got a lot of work ahead of us.
But if you wonder why conservatives seem to carry perpetual grievances, it's because they know they have lost. The entire world around them has left them behind. Heck, they've created an entire alternate media world in which to cocoon themselves. But they know they've lost. They may still alternate between the "denial" (Ted Cruz) and "anger" (Bill Donohue) phases of acceptance, but the only question left is how long will it be before our government truly represents the public will. And when that happens, we'll be truly able to ignore the perpetual tempter tantrum from the Right.