We Are More Alike Than We Think

Well, this is fascinating. New polling in a new book called, “Beyond a House Divided: The Moral Consensus Ignored by Washington, Wall Street and the Media,” finds that Americans are actually in overwhelmingly agreement on social issues.

Those of us who believe in God, have successful marriages, oppose abortions in most instances, want less government than more, think the government and media are part of the problem, and are supportive of religion in the public square are not a minority.

We’re not just a majority either. We are part of the quiet consensus at work in this country — if only those in the media and Washington, D.C., were paying attention.

The truth is that Americans are a people guided and sustained by morality and faith, and want those values reflected both in their institutions and political leadership.

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Americans agree that the country is not simply in the midst of a financial crisis, but a moral one as well. According to the data cited by Anderson, nearly three-quarters of Americans feel the moral compass of the country is pointing in the wrong direction. In the same breath, more than 80% of Americans agree that politicians are moving the country in the wrong direction.

The mainstream media outlets tell us that traditional values are found only among a “backward” fringe element. Actually, such values are more likely yours, those of your neighbor and of your community. They’re just not shared by the media or Washington elites.

Consider the following specifics from Anderson’s book:

We hear about a nearly 50-50 split on abortion. But in fact, when asked not whether they are pro-life or pro-choice but at what point of pregnancy abortion should be allowed, Americans are clear. About 80% would limit abortion to the first three months at most. Well over half would limit it to rape or incest or to save the life of the mother. Young people and women are even more likely to respond this way.

Since this is a big issue for me, this is no surprise. Most people understand that abortion is a terrible thing. Even those who feel it is a necessary evil want restrictions. The problem is that those who profit off abortion, Planned Parenthood, have a lot of money and lobbying power and have fought us on every restriction for 30 years, even though most of us agree on restrictions.

We also hear that same-sex marriage has divided us 50-50. Put another option on the table — civil unions — and support for same-sex marriage plummets to a third.

No surprise there either. On the two most contentious issues of our time, most of us can agree on a compromise. Strict restrictions on abortion, and allowing civil unions. Done and done. Yet we never get there, and they will continue to divide us, because of small groups (and I include pro life groups in that as well) who have a political agenda.

And to believe the media you would think the whole country was clamoring to remove all religious symbolism from the public square. Not so. By three to one — 75% to 25% — Americans are more concerned about the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom than they are interested in scrubbing every government building or school of religious symbolism.

Americans — Anderson points out — overwhelmingly want less government, don’t think the government can fix the economy and think executives ought to take the personal and moral responsibility necessary to fix things.

It’s actually small activists groups, like the ACLU, that want religious symbols removed. And it doesn’t surprise me that people still believe in personal responsibility and that they understand that the government is not the answer to our problems.

…by more than 3-to-1 over any other answer, we think a return to traditional values is the best path to fixing our country’s problems.

I have to admit that that number surprises me. It happily surprises me, but it still does.

The article points out that this wave of anti-incumbent sentiment isn’t just economic, it’s also about our values.

It’s also about right and wrong, and a sense that common-sense values no longer matter in Washington, D.C. It is the conviction that personal responsibility and not government regulation is the answer to our fiscal crisis.

It is the sense that traditional values, not a radically secular political correctness, are the unifying principles of American life that will heal the divisions in our society. It is the fact that these truths have been forgotten and ignored in Washington that has led to this anti-incumbent revolution.

crossposted at KathleenMcKinley.com

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