The Lie of Traditional Values
The people who claim to speak for "traditional values" in America are, for the most part, not being forthright. And that negates many of their claims to speak for "traditional values."
First of all, America was never meant to be a country stuck in the past. America has been meant to be a country that constantly grows and improves. America was meant to be "the last best hope for humanity" - a place where people tired of traditional European Christian values and institutions could come and build a life for themselves. Claiming America to be based on "traditional values" is a complete lie.
Secondly, America has had many traditions. It had European Enlightenment tradition that created its representative democracy; transcendentalist tradition that created its greatest literature and art; the flapper tradition that created the period of prosperity and beauty that was 1920s; and psychedelic tradition that created 1960s and 1970s, among others. To claim America to be a result of just one of its many traditions is ignorance and dishonesty. America has had many traditions, and it owes to them all.
There will always be people pining for something like 1950s or even 1980s; but there will also always be people pining for something like 1920s or 1960s. The reason is that people are different, and different things appeal to different people. There is a reason why there was 1960s, there is a reason why there was 1920s, there is a reason why there was transcendentalism, and there is a reason why America broke away from its monarchic Christian colonial overlords and became a representative democracy.
In all of the above the "traditional" attitudes and institutions were being fought or challenged - by Americans, most of them American patriots. And I can say with full certainty that, given these and related realities, any period of "traditionalism" will be followed by a period of turmoil or change.
So it's time that there be challenge to this kind of politics. The "traditional values" line is inconsistent with historical fact; it is inconsistent also with America's promise. People don't go to a country that advertises liberty in order to be enslaved by a community or a church, or to be told what kind of relationships to have, or to be dictated what they can believe and what they can say and how they can behave. As for the people who are in America today, they likewise do not benefit from being forced into lives that they do not want or communitarian institutions that rob them of freedom.
Free country means just that. Nobody is taking away from Mormons or right-wing Christians the right to live the way that they want to live. The problem is those people who, in the name of traditional values, are imposing this way of life on others. And that is a form of dictatorship; dictatorship that, whether or not it has a government component, oppresses people just as much as does any totalitarian regime.
So whenever we see people speak of "traditional values," it should be apparent that we are dealing with liars and wannabee totalitarians. Not only does America have many traditions, but it was never meant to be a country stuck in the past. It is meant to be a place that looks forward and forges forward.
And holding it hostage to one of the trends that existed in it is a vast disservice to the country and a vast disservice to its citizens.