It sounds racist, but it really is not. Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas summed up the gist of the 2012 election. In a symposium about the “State of Race in America” Vargas said that in this election “the soul of the heterosexual white man is at stake.”
That doesn’t mean that heterosexual white males are going to hell if the wrong party wins the election. It does mean that the country is at a divide between two paths. In a year when economic issues were supposed to be dominant, social issues have emerged. In the case of contraceptives, it is an issue that has reemerged after being dealt with a generation or two ago.
Since the election of Ronald Reagan, heterosexual white males have become the vanguard of conservatism and the Republican Party. It is easy to see Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in that light. They are speaking to that group in their political rhetoric. That is why Romney leads Barack Obama by 8 points among men. Yet women support Obama by 19 points. This is a monster of a divide of an unprecedented 27 point gap. Add in that white males support Romney overwhelmingly 61-35, and race takes on a perspective rarely talked about.
Since the 1950′s white males have declined economically and in political influence. Remove white gays from that picture and this large demographic group becomes even more isolated. Society is changing at the expense of them. Many have found solace in some extreme and distorted voices like Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh. Nevertheless, they still hold sway over the Republican Party. That may be why the political campaign is less focused on the current economy and more on past social issues. The shifting sands of society have left the most powerful political group in America losing their power. It is not surprising that they choose to fight back. Every political group does the same to promote its own particular interest. The problem is that by staking themselves to greater and greater extremes on the issues, they are alienating minorities, women and even other white males who don’t share the same social and political views.
This is why we are fighting social issues from the 1950′s like contraception. That was the heyday of the heterosexual white male. Many would like to see that time return. Others want to make a completely new paradigm. History teaches us that change is rarely stopped. It is inevitable. It only matters how hard those who are going to be dragged into the future want to kick and scream to slow that change down. Right now, there is a lot of kicking and screaming.