Just one more pessimistic take on current events …

In the last century, there has been an arc of political movement that brought us from a country of Babbitts and nativists to a symbol of progress and civility, and now back again. You can measure it in three elections: In 1928, with evolution one of the hot issues, the nation rejected an urban Catholic Northeasterner, largely with the votes of rural evangelical Protestants bolstered by the anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan, who felt that no Protestant should ever vote for a liberal Catholic. In 1960, with civil rights one of the hot issues, the nation elected an urban Catholic Northeasterner who pledged that his faith would never guide his decisions. And in 2004, with evolution once again a hot issue, the nation rejected an urban Catholic Northeasterner, largely with the votes of rural evangelical Protestants, bolstered this time by leaders of the Catholic Church, who felt that no Catholic should ever vote for a liberal Catholic, especially one who pledged that his faith would never guide his decisions.

The only thing worse than no progress at all is the reversal of progress. In terms of the moral state of our civilization, are we better off now than we were in 1928?

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