The concept of morality has been observed in human nature since the earliest recorded pieces of history dating back tens of thousands of years. The definition of morality that I found on the Oxford Living Dictionaries website is, “principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.” Different societies and cultures have different views on morality, a fundamental bible belt Christian has vastly different moral views than the Atheist drug dealer from California while the citizens of the conservative Saudi Arabia live completely different lives than the progressive country of Switzerland. One may ask what the United States’ moral compass looks like and whether it’s a “good” moral code?
The morality of American society was initially built on Christian values and over time we as a whole have become more progressive on the moral compass. America in its beginning stages was much like any Christian society in the seventeenth century, in this society hard work was valued throughout the week and Sunday’s were a day of worship. The typical American family had many kids, divorce was almost nonexistent, adultery was a death sentence to one’s reputation, members of the LGBT communities had no place in society, and women had no true role in society. This was the case for society until the twentieth century when social progressivism took America by storm and all those Christian ideals instilled in the American life took a complete one-eighty. One can look at our society today and say things are better now and that American’s are free from these moral contracts that America used to place on its citizens hundreds of years ago. I’d like to argue that society is indeed worse now since we expect the people of the country to be more progressive than they are at the moment. The reality is that media has painted a false progressive image of America as a whole while much of the country hasn’t caught up to this image.
In James A. Morone’s The Democratic Wish, he states, “The real political danger lies not in immorality but in the crusades against the immoral.” Socially conservative Americans have learned to excuse behavior that they deem immoral but they still target the groups of people that they deem immoral as a whole. We saw in the previous presidential election with Donald Trump that conservative Americans are very willing to support an immoral politician if they are willing to protect their conservative views. Morone also stated in his book, “Immigration generally provokes this jeremiad; new Americans are accused of threatening traditional values that they do not understand.” Many conservative Americans dislike foreigners since they bring along different religions and cultures that threaten the more traditional Christian ideologies. Oftentimes those of different races and religions face racism and scrutiny from the right since they feel they are morally superior and view all others as a threat. We can look at the conservative Americans for the cause of all the social tension in this country, however progressives and liberals need to burden their share of the blame. The liberal media has pushed a progressive narrative regarding social rights when much of the country wasn’t ready for this change. Morone has this to say regarding social changes, “Rapid social change, especially shifting gender roles, also provokes moral fears (maybe this is why pelvic sins and homosexuality loom so large along the moral fears).” I’m not saying there shouldn’t have been a change but liberals labeled America as a progressive society, love-all society way before it was ready and the conservative Americans are fighting back as a result. Overall, both the liberal and conservative morals are on different ends of a morality spectrum and strong attachment to these morals has divided social interactions within this country.
The main point is that morality and politics do not belong together. The political parties that run this country both have their own set moralities that they uphold and this complicates politics way too much. If you support small government, you also need to be against gay marriage while on the other end if you are for legalization of marijuana you need to also support universal healthcare. Politicians need to stop policing people’s morale convictions. If the parties detach themselves from their moral convictions, the people ultimately win as you are free to practice whatever moral standards (within reason of course) you wish without it being present in the national media spotlight