*Editor’s Note: This article is taken from an unused chapter from the forthcoming book, The Battle for Main Street: Reclaiming America’s Heritage available for pre-sale.
Part 1:The Two Americas
Any passing observer of the so- called, ‘culture wars’ will agree that the nation is deeply divided. Many argue that the culture wars began during Reagan’s Nineteen Eighties or the Sixties’ Summer of Love, or, further back, in the 1930s when TS Eliot declared that the West was “post -Christian.”. I have even read an essay circa 1940 bemoaning declaring the loss of the church’s influence on society. But one thing is clear, the polarization of everyday, average people, let’s call them Main Street, has not been so disparate extreme since the Civil War. There may be many factions, but the main divide is between what is called referred to as the Right and the Left – Conservatives and Liberals. Or, it might be better to label these sides Conservatives and Liberals, Whatever their but even those name you give them appellations, they conceal they only tell the political part of the story truth. My very liberal, secular humanist, ethnically Jjewish high school government teacher liked to label the two sides Regressive and Radicals. He voted Mondale.
These labels describe the two major factions, but they lack biblically informed modifiers. I prefer to avoid the political terms altogether, and see these things as either Sacred or Profane, followers of the ways of life and practitioners of the culture of death. Jesus said that there are two kingdoms, one of light and one of darkness. Those who walk in darkness despise the light, for it exposes their deeds. This is just what we should accept. Ultimately, the two sides are differentiated by one main point of contention; and it is a theological one. Those who belong to the Sacred trust God, and those who are profane do not. Simple.
There are two Americas. One which fondly looks back to the idyllic days past, longing that God will send rejuvenation and revive His church by His Spirit. Along with this revival would come a corresponding softening of the culture, political stability and unity among American brothers. They Sacred Partisans hope that America will turn to Him corporately, and enjoy renewed blessings.
There is a group in the middle who just wants a return to civility, financial prosperity, and law and order. These are the everyday people who live on Main Street. They are not partisans, but they do believe that the country is going in the wrong direction. Some of them are Democrats, and some vote Republican. This belief that America used to be more, and could be better, does not belong to one or the other political party. It might be the one issue that unites most of our citizens.
On the far extreme there is a very different America. The other America just wants to kick God out of it. “Leave us alone”, they say with one voice., “We want to do what we want.” For the Left, any infringement on the individual’s ability to say and do whatever he or she pleases is treated as a constitutional crisis. The Constitution being a document they only ever invoke to prove that personal autonomy is the only moral category protected by law. They are all for letting everybody do whatsoever they please, unless what one pleases to do is own a firearm, minister at a gay pride parade, or keep his personal property to himself.
Whereas the political Right’s proponents champion self reliance and decry the Left’s claim on their property, guns, and exorbitant tax revenues. The Right tends to be more religious; the Left more secular. The Right values personal responsibility and individualism, and the Left is all about “social justice” (read victimhood) and collectivist theory. These two Americas are running in opposite directions from each other, ever faster and ever more frantically.
This is not about Democrats versus Republicans. One of the godliest men I know started the Democrat Club on my Nazarene University Campus. He lead missions teams, took us to the most vulnerable places for Christian outreach, and regularly preached at our chapel. He now serves as the Chaplain for that University. If we are being honest we have to admit the Right is not perfect. It is not always perfectly aligned with the “Ways of Life”, but it is a far cry closer than the secular Left. In this regard, I am a man of the Right.
I leave myself free to criticize both sides, and suggest remedies. That is the role of the prophet, and though some may think I’m not much of one, I may not actually be much of one, I will assume the mantle where and when I am certain our orthodox interpretations of the Christian faith can speak true. We need only look to our televisions for adroit examples of the two Americas, you’ve got the Robertson’s one one side and the Kardashians on the other.
The Robertsons: If this family loses its show, its fortune, and/or the earthly creature comforts, they will have lost nothing at all.
- These blue collar folks have been designing and producing a classic american product for more than 40 years.
- They are a family who genuinely love each other, and depend on each other. Their lifestyle brings them together, not the television program they star in.
- They got famous, because people already liked their product.
- They share meals together around a family table, each time blessing the food in Jesus’ name.
- They live off the land, and enjoy it!
- They have married, once, and stayed married, and they have produced stable offspring. These offspring intend to do the same.
- They love God, and worship Him as God, and acknowledge that He is the source of all their joy, success, and life.
The Kardashians: If this family loses its show, its fortune, and/or the earthly creature comforts, they will have lost everything.
- These designer- label- wearing- women have a line of retail stores, which attract customers because the proprietors are Kardashians.
- They do not seem to genuinely love one another, and are certainly living independent lives.
- They got famous because one of the was featured in a sex tape that just so happened to leak to the public. They are “famous for being famous.”.
- When they eat together, it’ is at a posh LA or NY restaurant.
- They live off the esteem and gullibility of their fans.
- None of them seem to be able to stay married- they are ‘“monogamish”
- They do not love God, worship Him, or even acknowledge His grace towards them (except in passing lip service).
My analysis is this; if, we don’t start watching better TV, the Kardashians, and others like them, (I call them “kardashioids”) will continue to broadcast their preening, venal, insipid brand of “reality”. They will continue enriching themselves at the expense of the soul of America. Our culture is worsened because of them, because a new generation has grown up believing that if they don’t become YouTube famous or an Instagram celebritties, then their lives will have no worth.
Kardashiods don’t create anything. They don’t make anything new or useful. All they seem to do is have their picture taken, and take vacations (camera crew in tow). Kardashiods have never had calloused hands or sore backs from a hard day’s labor. When they crack a sweat, it is because they are at the trendiest hot yoga studio Calabasas has to offer. Kardashiods believe that beauty equals entitlement. They think the world owes them something, because they are young, attractive, and active on social media. But, it doesn’t.
I think the rise of the kardashiods has set a lot of young people up to be disappointed. These expectations of Hollywood-esque wealth and fame are so far fetched, and yet they’ve entered our homes under the guise of “Reality TV”. The irony is, of course, that reality TV of this sort has become anything but real people doing real things. I mean, who would really marry a person they just laid eyes on, if it weren’t for the promise of being a television personality?