When I was a young whippersnapper (is that how it`s spelled?) many, many years ago, in the `80s, I remember hearing the term family values for the first time. It was, of course the height of the Reagan administration, and every time you turned on the radio, or watched the nightly news, there was some Senator, Congressman, or Reagan himself throwing around the catchphrase of the Republican party. It seemed that Republicans had found the formula for success: distort the image of the opposing party not by focusing on the issues, but by building fear of a destruction of the false image of some halcyon day when, as the Ramones put it: we`re a hapy family. All of the world`s problems, and especially those of the disaffected in the US, could be summed up by just saying that those poor people lacked family values.
Whatever that meant. The didn`t have the moral fiber, the structural basis to succeed like the Republicans knew best.
That hammering of a lie lasted for decades, somehow. No matter how much reality flew in the face of all those who tried to pretend that they were above the fray of it all, Congress member who would later be indicted would still cite those beloved words, presidents who would later be found to have sold arms to supposed enemies would continue to froth on about a thousand points of light, and their sons, who were somehow elected, would go on about personal conversations with God. Then they would oversee torture, extraordinary rendition, the allowed destruction of New Orleans, the death penalty for the mentally ill and the further destruction of the Earth...and an invasion of a sovereign nation.
All of this was excused, and not linked to a lack of those same family values.
But now, what with an ever-cascading litany of scandals in the Republican party, from foot-fondling in public bathrooms to showcasing 18-year old pregnant daughters, to mistresses from Nevada to Argentina, does the Grand Ole Party have a leg to stand on, or better a soapbox to yell from? Where are the family values? Or do some people get a pass...like the entire Congress? How can the last two decades have come to this? Where is the Christian Coalition when we need them? I don`t hear much from them these days.
I wonder why? And I wonder when, if ever, I will hear those special words, family values, uttered again. This side of never would be too soon.