Saturday, December 17, 2005


The Story Behind "Disarming the Culture War"

Though I have long had both a desire to write and a deep interest in the moral issues of our day, any pursuit of these interests was rightfully placed on the back burner many years ago. Such interests were relegated to the lower levels of a priority list that has been dominated by an even stronger desire and interest in properly providing for and raising a family of six children. “Struggling author” and “adequate provider” seemed to be incompatible objectives, so I concentrated on the latter, knowing that priorities would quite naturally change someday. Someday arrived in November of 2004 as my wife and I, recent early retirees, watched election returns in our empty nest, as our six adult children likely watched the same coverage in their own homes and apartments many miles away. As I flipped from channel to channel to hear commentator after commentator express utter amazement that exit polls identified moral values as the preeminent election issue—the one issue that certainly determined that the United States would be led for the next four years by President Bush and not President Kerry—I determined that it was time to pursue the personal interests that had long been simmering on the back burner.

It was a relatively easy process to decide on the format for “Disarming the Culture War.” The sections of the book follow a natural progression through each of the main issues of the Culture War—abortion, gun control, separation of church and state and same-sex marriage. These sections are sandwiched between an introduction to the Culture War and a concluding chapter with recommendations on how concerned citizens can become active participants in the effort to move beyond this divisive stalemate.

The content of “Disarming the Culture War” was also easy to determine. I have felt for many years that hard-core Republicans and Democrats have hijacked their respective party platforms and staked out inflexible positions on these moral issues that do not represent the true sentiments of the majority of Americans. I know for certain that the two major parties do not represent my positions on these issues. I also believe it is clear from the many polls that have been taken concerning these issues that I am far from alone. One of the primary objectives of the book is to show that the stalemate of the Culture War is the product of our two political parties and not the product of an equally divided country. There is no doubt that serious division exists on these four issues, but the nearly equal division that was made manifest in the two most recent presidential elections is not an accurate representation of how the entire electorate feels about these issues. I believe “Disarming the Culture War” will more than adequately make that case.

As a first time author, I readily acknowledge that my credentials will be a significant hurdle to overcome in attracting readers to the book. It would of course be an easier sell if I were an author with an already established media platform or an academic background that seemed relevant to the topic. My reply to any such concerns is to strongly emphasize that this is not an academic topic. As citizens, each of us is expected to reach our own conclusions on the four moral issues of the Culture War. Text books and professors are not consulted as ordinary citizens determine for themselves where they stand on abortion, gun control, gay marriage and separation of church and state. The conclusions reached are quite often based on faith, emotion or intuition and not necessarily supported by a comprehensive logical framework. The success of political commentary is at least partially based on the author’s ability to articulate clearly what his or her audience might already believe but has not had the time or desire to fully articulate. The author is essentially providing a framework of thought for an existing but, perhaps, incomplete belief. In “Disarming the Culture War,” I believe that I have developed a logical and common sense articulation of what many others are already thinking on this subject. The proof of such an assertion can only be determined by readers who pass judgment on the ideas and the manner in which they are expressed in the book.

Clearly not every reader will agree with the conclusions reached in “Disarming the Culture War.” These are difficult and divisive issues. I will consider the book a success if like-minded readers appreciate the common sense framework that can perhaps supplement and support already existing views, and if readers who disagree with the conclusions are motivated to explore their own opinions to more fully understand why we disagree. A more rational dialogue would be good for both sides. Finally, if there are any readers whose opinions on these issues are still malleable, it would be a great privilege to have influenced them to the point of taking a stand, one way or the other.

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