by Patrick J Buchanan – March 8, 2004
“It became an emblematic moment. Patrick Buchanan standing before the Republican National Convention in August 1992, bluntly declaring that there was a ‘religious war’ and a ‘cultural war’ under way for the soul of the country. And that ‘Clinton and Clinton are on the other side’ with an agenda of ‘radical feminism,’ ‘abortion on demand’ and ‘homosexual rights.’”
So wrote Robin Toner in the lead of her Sunday New York Times article titled, “To the Barricades: The Culture Wars, Part II.”
A mild dissent. This writer did not declare a culture war in Houston. I defined that struggle for the soul of America only after Democrats nominated a candidate who was the paragon of the New Morality and social radicalism of the 1960s. Let the reader decide whether eight years of Bill Clinton validated my depiction.
As Toner writes, the culture wars have been reignited. And there is no doubt who initiated this round of hostilities. There is no question who the aggressors are in “Culture Wars, Part II.” There is no doubt who pushed the “wedge issues” onto the docket. Consider the subjects that have roiled America since New Year’s Eve:
One hundred million Americans gather together for the Super Bowl and are treated to a vulgar stunt, as pop star Janet Jackson has her breast plate ripped off by Justin Timberlake.
Superstar Mel Gibson invests $25 million of his own money to do a film on the passion of Christ and is scourged near to death as an anti-Semite before anyone has seen the film. Powerbrokers in Hollywood tell the New York Times they will destroy him.
The Massachusetts supreme court orders Gov. Romney and the legislature to begin handing out same-sex marriage licenses by May, and that their approval of civil unions will not satisfy the court.
Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco ignores a law enacted by the people of California two-to-one in a referendum, and starts handing out marriage licenses to homosexuals. Rosie O’Donnell arrives with female paramour in tow, gets hitched, and cusses out President Bush for saying he is troubled by this and will try to maintain traditional marriage in America even if it requires a constitutional amendment.
Who is in your face here? Who started this? Who is on the offensive? Who is pushing the envelope? The answer is obvious. A radical Left aided by a cultural elite that detests Christianity and finds Christian moral tenets reactionary and repressive is hell-bent on pushing its amoral values and imposing its ideology on our nation.
The unwisdom of what the Hollywood and the Left are about should be transparent to all. But if this assault on the sensibilities of the majority continues, the candidate of Hollywood and the Left, John Kerry, will pay a price in November.
Do they recognize how they are being perceived? Do they care? Perhaps not. For Middle America, however, these have been weeks of revelation. The crudity of the MTV crowd, manifest in the Janet Jackson episode, and the ferocity of the hatred of the Hollywood elite for Mel Gibson’s film have jolted Christians.
The endorsement by gay-rights groups and their allies of this schoolhouse door disobedience by elected officials has shown not only that the other side in the culture war considers itself above the old morality, it considers itself above the rule of law.
Truly, these nine weeks since New Year’s Eve reveal that we are a “house divided” in ways deeper than the shallow rich-and-poor divide of John Edwards’ campaign rhetoric. We no longer inhabit the same moral universe. We are no longer a moral community. We are two countries. One part of America has seceded, and the other has no interest in re-establishing the Union.
While the Left lacks the majority to prevail in a legislative process, and its agenda is despised, it has succeeded by persuading judges, whom voters cannot remove, to impose its agenda by dictat.
Thus, the great battleground of the culture war, after the schools, is the courts. And here, the elected branches, especially Congress, have been derelict in permitting their powers to be seized by judicial collaborators of the moral minority.
Presidents can, as Bush has done, make recess appointments to the federal courts. Like Jefferson and Jackson, he can interpret the Constitution and ignore Supreme Court orders. A strong president would lead Congress in reasserting the supremacy of the first and second branches of the U.S. government over the third branch.
Congress has the power to impeach federal judges and remove them. It has the power to impose term limits on them. It has the power to restrict the jurisdiction of all federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. It has the power to abolish every federal court but the Supreme Court. But it has refused to use that power.
Time for Congress, in this culture war, to lead, follow or get out of the way.