Rick Santorum Catholicism is rapidly becoming an issue in this race, at least for the left. Over and over we see them (and some Romney supporters who are becoming increasingly desperate) fret over beliefs concerning contraception, abortion and sex before marriage, all doctrines of the Catholic Church to which he belongs. This is in marked contrast to the MSM cavalier attitude to a certain Chicago Senator’s church but we can’t mention that without charges of “racism”.
One of the advantages of being born in 1963 to parents born in the early 20’s and grandparents born in the 1890’s is it gives one an excellent perspective on the massive cultural changes of the 60’s while still being young enough to talk about it without people dismissing you.
Many people do not remember that Orthodox religious belief for almost the entire history of the country has been the norm. If you go though the record of speeches, of official documents at all levels from presidential on down you see this same type of thing. Likewise if you look at what was orthodox protestant belief 100 years ago on subjects such as birth control, there is not much if any difference between that and current Catholic belief.
Somehow people don’t remember a time when teens suicide was not common, nor was resignation of premarital sex, the acceptance of divorce as the best solution, gangs not being strong on the streets, drugs not being prevent in our schools, police officers not having to be stationed inside.
Even more amazing is the change in the Black community, at the same time as giants fought for an achieved civil rights, black families stuck together and in strong families despite the oppression and discrimination that had to be endured. Today with the legal protections in place and a generation that considers the entire question of race as a qualification for employment or advancement an oddity we see black illegitimacy rates, incarceration rates, and crime rates though the roof.
The question is why?
I think the answer is exemplified by a simple contrast between two events:
NYC announced that they would not be holding a parade for the troops, (somehow these “objections” didn’t stop St. Louis) The fact that is even was a matter that needed discussion is a matter of great amazement to me, then again as colleges had to be dragged kicking and screaming into bringing back ROTC and as the left spent the last decade demonizing soldiers, the idea that volunteers who willingly risk their lives to defend the country might not be supported (unless they shoot their officers of course) should not have surprised me.
These serving men and women are the modern greatest generation yet many in our society, particularly on the left disdain them.
Meanwhile in New Jersey flags in the state were flown at half mast for Whitney Houston, a pretty good singer who rose to fame and wealth due to a fine voice but wasted in on drugs until it killed her. Yes she sang very nice but her life and death is a celebration of hedonism and the fact that every cable network felt complected to cover is was astounding to me.
BTW there is no parade scheduled for the troop in New Jersey either.
Mike Barnicle’s close to his famous article on the death of Mother Teresa and Princess Diana comes to mind:
Anybody who claims they can explain the logic behind the enormous outpouring for a dead princess is not to be believed because it is inexplicable. And anyone who equates the deeds of Diana’s life with those of Mother Teresa’s is a fool.
Substitute “Whitney Houston” for Diana in that paragraph and Sgt. Paul Smith posthumous medal of Honor recipient for Mother Teresa in those two sentences and it reads exactly the same.
Put simply the culture has gone from a culture that celebrates merit and duty to a culture that celebrates fame and hedonism.
And that brings us to Rick Santorum.
Unlike the Pelosis, Kerrys and Bidens of the left he doesn’t proclaim his Catholicism and then distort or disdain the beliefs of the Church he proclaims. He is more Rosemary Reynolds than Mario Cuomo unwilling to divide himself. Like most practicing Catholics (you know people who actually go to church weekly) his faith and belief informs him, it is not something that comes out once a week to be hidden from view. For the majority of the history of this country this was nothing odd, and in our divided culture, the half that still honors religion it is perfectly normal.
To an MSM that has abandoned faith and religion of their parents and have filled it with noise Santorum is a strange and frightening thing. Santorum is a direct threat, a reminder of the cultural failure of the 60’s and the hook up culture, a reminder that one can’t command a majority when your voter base aborts their children or chooses to delay or avoid having them. (There will be a lot of Santorum children voting long after both Maureen Dowd and I are dead and gone).
Demographics are destiny and the 60’s generation that never quite realized that never quite abandoned their teenage belief in their intellectual superiority to their parents who won the 2nd world war are slowly losing the fight, not just because of demographics but because of the cultural failures that people of the right and of faith have been avoiding through home and religious schooling.
What they forget is that “dark age” that they proclaim Santorum belongs to was an age of intact families, an age of people knowing their neighbors and an age where schools were safe and the children in them not only respected their teachers but were learning things that our current crop of public school students can’t seem to manage. They largely are railing against a past that didn’t exist to a group of people so ill-informed that they don’t realize that they are fighting against a myth.
Now in terms of electoral politics for Democrats it’s an open and shut business. It’s a lot easier to hit Santorum on issues of culture than trying to defend the Obama economic record. For many others there is something more elemental going on.
They can’t allow Santorum to be considered a credible or mainstream candidate. It’s not enough that Santorum be defeated to the left, he must be marginalized as a fanatic, it must be made clear to any in America that no believing Catholic need apply for the office of president of the United States.
Because if Rick Santorum is elected and the world doesn’t end and the values of a generation that held them against a self-destructive culture are put on display and expressed from the bully pulpit, the clarifying effect on society would be more than the left can bear.
Update: Glenn Reynolds on the attacks hitting Santorum:
Democrats are worried, so they’re playing the Republicans Will Steal Your Ladyparts!!!! card. And the knees are jerking as hoped. Women, you’re being played. Again.