So, instead of emailing articles during my break between classes, I'm posting them all! This, by Matt Bai, who is always very perceptive, is interesting.
It resonates with the idea that is in the Times op/ed today - that it's Democrats and urbanites who care more about social issues than rural conservatives. In other words, being a pro-life Democrat can be more politically damaging than one might think.
Personally, this whole "bitter" and "clinging to guns and religion" business has made it difficult for me to write lectures this week. In explaining the rise of the New Right in the late '70s and early '80s, how do you NOT say that urban Catholics, blue-collar folk, and white southerners are turning right because they are bitter? It's more acceptable, I think, to talk about this during the 1950s Cold War. People were afraid and felt like they had little control over their destiny because it could all be erased with one bomb. In response, defending traditional gender roles and a certain social hierarchy becomes central to Americans' lives.
It seems a problem of social construction versus authenticity of belief. In other words, does using context to explain why certain beliefs wax and wane diminish the inherent validity of those beliefs? If you turn to faith because you've lost your job and feel like the Iraq War is a mess, does that make your faith less authentic? I don't think so. For example, I don't think of myself as a fickle Christian who uses church as an opiate, even if sometimes I'm more into church (usually because of external events) than at other times. Although I understand how some people might not interpret themselves in this way.
What if we switched it? Democrats cling to their pro-choice stance because they feel X. What do we put in for X?