Saturday, November 13, 2004
I find much of the sound and fury regarding the effect evangelical voters on the election to be off the mark.
As a card-carrying, non-denominational skeptic, I can count the number of times I've been inside a church (or, on my mom's side, a Buddhist temple) on the fingers of both hands. The "cultural values" issue, while not a major factor for me, resonates nonetheless.
As I've followed the after-election postmortems, I think the question has been vastly oversimplified. Most of my contemporaries are parents. None in my circle are evangelical.
When they express alarm at having their 9-year-olds ambushed by Janet Jackson's mammary at the Super Bowl or the profanity seeping into prime-time or the extent to which Madison Avenue bends over backwards to appeal to the most prurient impulses, they are condescendingly derided as toothless hicks, frigid schoolmarms and ignorant bigots.
The reality is that they are decent, reasonable people, weary of having their perspectives undermined and ridiculed at every turn. The left's patronizing hostility is one reason the issue wound up on the radar screen and surely helped to rev up the Republican base this time around. It's not just the Bible-thumpers, and it describes a much broader divide than God, gays, and guns.
I hope the left continues to enlist the likes of Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon to preach how stupid and gullible we are. It will energize us four years hence, just as it did last week.