by Josh HetzlerLegislative Assistant

Ask the average American what “social issues” are, and without fail you’ll hear: “abortion and gay marriage.” I have. A thousand times. Perhaps you would give the same answer, if asked.

But then follow up with a second question: “Anything else?”

Crickets.

Such has become the status quo in political discourse. Life and marriage relegated to the always-to-be-avoided “social issues” where they may be contained and conveniently dismissed. More often than not, there’s almost a disdain, or the feign of intellectual fatigue, when political types utter the phrase “social issues.” The response tends to indicate a belief that these are fringe issues kept alive only by the radical ideologues among us, or that they have no place in our decisions within government (except when we need to shepherd the ignorant masses to the polls, of course). And sure enough, we believe them.

But why only these two issues in the camp of “social issues”? What about welfare programs, which consume over two-thirds of our federal budget and roughly half of the state budget? What about education reform, which would seem to be at the heart of so many of our “social” ills? What about domestic abuse or human trafficking? What about the war on drugs? Veteran homelessness and suicide rates? Aren’t these all “social issues” in the plain sense of the phrase?

Well no, [they] say, these fall under entitlement/poverty prevention, education, criminal justice, drugs, and veteran affairs, respectively. Social issues are….well, they’re those other things which, you know, are all wrapped up in morals and religion and stuff. Right…

Oh how the wool has been pulled over our eyes.

The reality is sobering. Americans, liberals and conservatives alike, have totally accepted a particular narrative about some of the most important and fundamental questions we must settle, all without ever stopping to think about whether this story-turned-conventional-thought is rooted in truth.

Some have intentionally peddled this narrative, convincing us that life and marriage truly are fringe issues to be avoided. Though, if you happen to believe that abortion is really about women’s rights and that “gay marriage” is a pathway to “equality”, then you’ve got a blanket exemption.  Even better for you - the issues just morphed into women’s rights and civil rights, and therefore are no longer “social issues” to be avoided.

Do you see what’s happened? It’s a clever trick, really. And boy has it been effective.

The truth is that EVERY issue in America is a political and therefore a “social issue.” That’s because America is an idea – one which dares to affirm that people are born free and that they can and should govern themselves in a free society. In such a society, government becomes a reflection of the values of the people it represents, including its values of life and marriage, and everything else. In such a government, there is no escaping the reality that the law will always reflect our values. Assuming this idea is still alive and well, the only question is: which values will our laws reflect?

This is why the prevailing narrative over “social issues” is a farce. It’s a political ploy, used to trick those who hold to certain values so that the tricksters might cause government to reflect different values on these critical issues.

We must refuse to buy into this false narrative of “social issues” and stand up for the values that made America great. Otherwise, we are sheep being led to the slaughter.