SO I HEARD SOME GUY ON THE RADIO saying that the Republicans have changed from the Reagan era — now they’re a bunch of social conservatives. But back during the Reagan era, I remember hearing that the Republicans were . . . a bunch of social conservatives. And back then they were pushing the abortion-banning Human Life Amendment — hard — along with a statutory end-run (the Human Life Bill) that simply declared life began at conception. Also school prayer and all sorts of stuff. I’m not actually hearing much along these lines from today’s Republicans, for whom tepid efforts at limiting late-term abortions are a big deal — but who are nonetheless stone-age troglodytes on social issues because they’ve got the same position as Barack Obama on gay marriage — and I’m wondering where this big shift to the right really is.
I think the real shift has been cultural and in media. For espousing ideas that were reasonably mainstream during the Reagan Era, one is promptly labeled a religious kook today. While the Republicans have been and remain the more socially conservative party, the Left has been effective in their demonizing of that aspect, especially every time a social conservative Republican goes astray with a hooker, or in a men’s room, for instance. Lastly, televangelists and some notable moderate Republicans have helped demonize this over time, too.
Remember during the nineties, when Ally McBeal was still on, every fall there would be these breathless news stories about how the hemline of her skirt was going up an inch? That wasn’t that long ago. And yet it seems so long ago.
And some of us similar in age last week were talking about how in movies in the 70s and 80s you’d see a woman randomly walk across the frame without a top on, and yet it would be a PG movie. I think the difference was that before people weren’t ashamed of nekkidness, whereas now everything’s about sex so they are.