Today, the Radical Right rides the wave of white rural disappointment, anti-abortion single issue voters, and evangelical prejudice against Gay and Transgender Americans. We need to go back, they say, to the way it used to be in the 1950s when government was small and people were civil.
But government wasn’t small and for many, people were brutal. Husbands weren’t indicted for assaulting their wives, education was separate and unequal, and antisemitism and using the N word were non-controversial in the general culture. Voter suppression and the Jim Crow South were alive and well.
In the 1950s, the idyllic suburban community portrayed in Father Knows Best and similar series was built on government financed no-interest home loans for white people who could buy homes in new white only suburbs and the GI Bill to pay for education at whites only colleges and universities. A few decades before, what the Republicans labeled socialist, people in whites only jobs received income support from unemployment insurance and social security. Now that the white middle class have climbed the ladder of government programs, the Right offers to pull it up behind them.
Rural male disappointment can’t be considered apart from the flat lining of wages and the income gap. But corporate tax cuts went to stock buybacks making the wealthy wealthier not creating jobs and raising wages, the way it was sold.
Anti-abortionist political action committees and candidate endorsement operations seek the political power to force women into childbirth. As the saying goes, if men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. Terminating an unwanted pregnancy would surely be consider a man’s right. How this issue migrated into Protestant circles is its political promise for groups beginning with Falwell’s Moral Majority since there is absolutely no Biblical basis for opposing abortion.
The Right is working us back to the bad old days selling a delusional nostalgia and warped perspective on human rights. This is nothing new. Some people still think slavery was a state’s right.