The Fragmenting of American Society; Erosion of Shared Values Must Cease for the Nation to Endure

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 15, 2010 | Go to article overview

The Fragmenting of American Society; Erosion of Shared Values Must Cease for the Nation to Endure


Byline: Lawrence P. Grayson, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The divergence in opinion about the Employment Nondiscrimination Act being considered by Congress, illustrates a deep and widening divide in the beliefs of the American public. Homosexual rights advocates promote the act as necessary to protect homosexual and transgender persons from employment discrimination. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other religious groups state that it would jeopardize religious freedom, have an adverse effect on the privacy and associational rights of others and lead to the redefinition of marriage.

Such polar differences, which occur on many national issues, threaten the social compact underlying America. The unity of this nation as a constitutional republic is based on civic understandings rooted in shared moral precepts. When the Constitution was adopted, it did not set forth idealized principles for the nation. Rather, it codified existing beliefs and desires of the people. Those beliefs, though not necessarily stated, were embodied in ways of behavior, implicit values and the collective way of life of the people. If the written Constitution had not been in agreement with them, it would not have worked.

For 223 years, the Constitution has served the American people well. While assuring stability and continuity through an adherence to the written decrees, it has adapted to changing social conditions through the process of amendments. As long as the social compact remained in place and there was compatibility between the written Constitution and the unwritten persuasions of the people, the system worked. When severe disagreements arose in the mid-1800s, with strongly opposing views about the right of states to secede from the union, the social compact was fractured, and it took a Civil War to settle the question and keep the nation united.

Today, the social compact is once again being strained. There are deep divisions among the people as to what America stands for. One side believes in individual initiative, personal responsibility, equality of opportunity, entrepreneurship and limited government. The other side advocates bureaucratic regulation, societal responsibility, equality of results, centralized control and a paternalistic government. One believes in a capitalistic economy and a free-market system to reward individual achievement, the other in regulated commerce and a redistributionist system to promote social justice. One believes in equality under the law, the other in fairness under the law. One side believes in the innate dignity of every human being, the protection of life from conception to natural death and in marriage as only between one man and one woman, the other in dignity being conferred when one can function as a person, in the right of a woman to abort her own child and marriage as a civil right among consenting adults regardless of gender. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Fragmenting of American Society; Erosion of Shared Values Must Cease for the Nation to Endure
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.