Saturday, September 26, 2015

The new marginalized. . .

Once it might have been said that non-Christians, homosexuals, singles, married who chose to be childless, etc... were marginalized and lived at the fringes of American life.  I am not sure that this was ever as true as some make it out to be (we all prefer our own mythology to the possible truths of others) but I will go for it.  Judging by the family shows of the 1950s in which moms, dads, children, and even extended family lived together, facing together the troubles and trials of the major crises of life (adolescence, puberty, dating, finding a spouse, work, etc...), America looked pretty conventional from the outside.  It is not surprising.  The goal of secular culture to that day mirrored religious culture in seeking stable marriages, stable families, productive lives, citizen involvement, and social responsibility.  At least there was an appearance of a convergence.

Jump ahead 50-60 years and we find a radically different landscape.  The new marginalized are those same stable families: dad, mom, and their children.  The churches who were once willing or at least tacit partners in this endeavor are more and more sidelined from the public square, the object of ridicule in the media, and persecuted for stances that conflict with the current version of political correctness.  Nearly everything around us has been transformed to fit the minorities (not thinking here of minority in the traditional sense of that term).  At one time Blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, Asians, and nearly every other minority joined the majority in desiring and working toward solid, enduring families in which to raise productive successful children.  Now those same minorities find their traditional moralities challenged just as powerfully as the old majority.

The new marginalized are the marrieds who stay married through thick and thin, who have children and raise them up with faith and values, who pass on the virtue of hard work, who take their children with them to church on Sunday morning and take just as big an interest in their religious life and education as their soccer and dance interests.  The new marginalized are the once stable and enduring families who cared for aged parents and grandparents so they could live within their communities and not be shipped off to nursing homes or assisted living centers (unless absolutely necessary).  The new marginalized are those who prefer a polite speech which is mostly free of vulgarity over the more honest speech which says what the people think without deleting the expletives or cleaning up the vocabulary.

If you are reading this blog, you are probably part of those newly marginalized, punted to the fringes of our American life (in public if not in private).  You are those who might be accused of hate speech for not championing same sex marriage or of polluting the good earth for not limiting the size of your family to reduce the carbon imprint of your presence or of being stupid and naive for valuing family as high as career or of being anti-intellectual for dressing up for church on Sunday morning or of being abusive for believing in and teaching your children the value of honest hard work.

Now we can complain about this all day long -- but it will do nothing except mark us as whiners.  What we can do is build a new culture from the fringes.  Our fascination with narcissistic and self-absorbed lives cannot endure -- it is economically unsustainable.  So if we concern ourselves with a robust apologetic to those who challenge while at the same time making sure that we endeavor with all our might to strengthen families, restore God's purpose and order to marriage, have children and raise them up solidly in the faith, and practice responsible citizenship by example and by ballot, the day will come when the broken shards of civilization will look to us to rebuild what was broken by excess and short-sighted self-indulgence.  Or maybe not and Christ will come to make it all irrelevant.  In either case, God's will shall be done.  Thanks be to God!


John Flanagan said...

. As a youngster in the nineteen fifties, I watched the people around me, and true enough, most of the families were stable. However, a closer look sometimes revealed issues which were kept under lid and hidden. The drunk who beat his wife and children was in my own neighborhood. The Episcopal priest across the street in my small town had a girlfriend along with a wife and two boys. A woman two houses down my block had mental issues, and one day lined up her statues of Mary on the lawn, and was crying when they finally took her away to an institution. Oh, so sad. There were literally men in white coats on the scene. We also had a woman friend of my mother who led a secret life, having two children with a Catholic priest who supported her in NY while pastoring a church in Boston. This poor woman had a drinking problem, and when she was drunk, shared her guilt and pain with my mother. She worked in a nursing home, was basically kind, but caught in a besetting sin which made shipwreck of her life. As for me, as an altar boy and a devout Catholic at that time, I realized early that one of our parish priests was a pedophile homosexual who made advances which I curtly rebuffed. He went on to another altar boy instead, ruined his adolescent childhood, and some years later was defrocked, having been finally exposed. I think seeing the issues of my own self and parents, experiencing the cruelties of others, as well as the kindness in some, made me grow up quicker. I thank God for his protection and providence. Although things seemed better long ago looking back, there was nothing new under the sun then either, and the Bible is spot on about life. As a Lutheran, I can see why Martin Luther struggled with the ideals of his church versus the reality.

Kirk Skeptic said...

John: as one who grew up when the media were pushing the so-called "friendly divorce" and the "stable marriages" of my friends' parents began to crumble, I appreciate your observations.

Carl Vehse said...

"A woman two houses down my block had mental issues, and one day lined up her statues of Mary on the lawn, and was crying when they finally took her away to an institution."

Except for the criminally insane, very few people are involuntarily put into mental institutions nowadays (courts have ruled it infringes on their right to be crazy). I've seen mentally disturbed children sometimes placed in advanced academic classes in public schools because the rest of the class are better able to still learn and cope with the mentally disturbed's occasional disruptions than students in normal or remedial classes.

As adults, the mentally ill may end up homeless, by choice in some cases. Some more intelligent psychopaths find success as liberal politicians or Supreme Court justices.

John Flanagan said...

My own dear father, who passed away last year at 95, suffered from PTSD after World War 2, as a result of wartime horrors he experienced. As a boy, I watched as the VA sent some attendants, at my mother's request, to carry him off involuntarily to the VA facility nearby. He had at least two nervous breakdowns and was sent to the VA for two different stays involving treatment, including "shock" treatment. Afterwards, he lived a normal life, a mostly quiet soul who internalized his demons. He was fine for the next 60 years of his life. I think some people are more fragile in dealing with life and trauma, and they often need help, either voluntarily or involuntarily. I think when we see troubled people, we need to feel compassion and pray for them.

Kirk Skeptic said...

@CV: the prison system is then new mental hospital

@JF: involuntary help isn't help; ask all those diagnosed with "sluggish schizophrenia" in the former ussr - that was the "diagnosis" given to political dissidents which made them fair game for the psychiatric profession.