15 June, 2021

The Ten Commandments In The Land Of The Free

The Ten Commandments In The Land Of The Free

IN 1992, Murphy Brown, a popular TV sitcom character epitomising an intelligent, highly paid, professional woman, decided to bear a child out of wedlock. With righteous indignation, vice president Dan Quayle invoked "family values", the Republican party's watchword in that year's presidential campaign, to attack the show and its star, Candice Bergen. Families, the Republican platform insisted, "must continue to be the foundation of our nation". And, as envisioned by the Bible-thumping Christian right, a family consists of a legally married heterosexual couple with their minor children.

Never mind that this nostalgic fantasy is unmatched by the demographics in today's America. Openly gay lifestyles, divorce and teenage problems have combined to undermine the nuclear family. Still, most Americans yearn for it because it conjures up a simpler, better America. For example, in a midwestern district where only 58 per cent of the voters prefer "conservative" candidates, 95 per cent wanted their Congressman to be a...

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