During a recent discussion with fellow concerned citizens about actions we might take to address gun violence in our country, I was stunned into silence when I was cautioned to not propose actions (in this case, a consumer boycott) that might be perceived as “engaging in the culture war.” What did that mean, exactly?
I have learned over the years that the culture of any group — whether it is a business, a church, a university or a nation — is evident less in how the group promotes itself, or even what it believes about itself, than by the behaviors of its members, particularly by what the powerful are allowed to get away with.
Judging by what the electoral and financially powerful of this nation have done, and are getting away with, our national culture is one of violence, xenophobia and racism, contempt for women, children, the poor and the disabled, and disdain for the common good.
The many citizens who have risen to resist this culture and to redefine it should not back down. Every struggle to change cultural norms, from abolition, through women’s suffrage, workers’ rights, civil rights to “never again,” are culture wars that need to be fought. Let us not caution each other about what might be said of us. Let us be warriors.