A fellow writing a travel story about neighboring Ogden, Utah claims when you visit it’s like seeing the 1950s. I came across the story some months ago and believe much of the old Mormon Empire retains the charm. I’m including Southern Idaho and I saw much of the same over the weekend while staffing a radio booth at the Home and Garden Show. The values remain strong in huge swaths of flyover country but I’m afraid the isolation won’t last.

The last vestige of a dying age. Courtesy, Bill Colley
The last vestige of a dying age. Courtesy, Bill Colley

Saturday morning I watched the funeral for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. I’ve been to the Basilica at Catholic University in Washington and can attest it harkens to a time when Roman Catholics in America didn’t have the great liberal/conservative schism. Marriage was for a lifetime and for better or for worse. Abortion was wrong and social pressures kept most people in line. The time was called the 1950s and the pageantry on display at the Basilica is likely the last gasp of that long ago decade, which held out in small pockets for 60 years. Scalia’s passing is another nail in the cultural coffin. His old time approach to God and faith isn’t much in vogue. Nine kids and married to his first and only wife for 55 years the man had become an anachronism and in Washington an anomaly.

In the days between his death and funeral we saw stories about evangelicals deserting evangelical candidates for President in favor of the thrice married and admitted adulterer Donald Trump. In Seattle a man walked into a women’s locker room and took his clothes off simply because new laws say he can. Then he came back later to look at little girls engaged in swimming practice. Conservative blogger Matt Walsh (a onetime libertarian candidate in Delaware) cited a liberal from Seattle explaining we all had to learn to live with men looking at little girls undressing. Better to allow ten children to be molested than one pervert to have his feelings hurt. It’s an inverse Blackstone’s Ratio. It argues we should allow potential terrorists into the country in order not to offend. Meanwhile men in cowboy hats who wrestle cattle and feed the country are branded enemies-of-the-state.

How did we get here? There was a time before the cities burned and the hippies rejected family values and government assumed the role of national mommy and daddy. The ancient regime held for 3 decades following the 1950s but then a generation passed and the newcomers had no knowledge of before or chuckled at old black and white films, poodle skirts and men wearing cassocks. The cracks were evident in the 1990s when Bill Clinton twice defeated members of the Greatest Generation. He had the morals of an alley cat. George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole nearly gave their lives to defeat tyranny. Who any longer cared about past sacrifice? Now with another two decades behind us we see the rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Maybe they won’t be the next President but in four years there will be evermore young socialist voters. If not Sanders than a candidate of like mind could triumph. Daniel J. Arbess is writing today at the Wall Street Journal. As you can see here the future belongs to the young. In 2016 their numbers now equal the baby boomers.

This morning I read where Donald Trump is also attracting many younger voters. So much for Republicans being the party of old, white men. Writers on the right and left are befuddled as Trump draws from men, women, old, young, faithful, godless, schooled, unschooled, white, black and brown.

Others warn the people racing to Trump’s banner have surrendered the American ideal. The Republic is finished. A liberal pundit Sunday took to television to denounce the GOP for letting “evil” in the door. He means Trump. Trump doesn’t worry me anywhere near as much as some of his supporters. I don’t buy the Trump as Nazi claims, however. The Nazi Party never won an electoral majority in Germany. It was one third of the vote that gave Hitler a plurality. Later he was granted emergency powers. After his brown shirts roamed the streets clubbing opponents. Trump isn’t Hitler but a certain element of his support are people who would club me for expressing my doubts. Some were friends. What has driven them to the edge of the abyss with a willingness to leap before looking at the rocks below?


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