The Next Generation

One thing that the virulently anti-gay position of the Republican party must deal with is the next generation. I've been to several campuses the past few years to give talks and meet students, and one Hs_acceptance of the most striking things is not just how over it most campuses are on the gay issue, but how the younger generation reacts to the word "conservative." When I was in college, it had something to do with fighting communism, increasing individual liberty, lowering taxes, getting government off our backs, etc. Now, it is almost completely identified with religious intolerance. A key reason for that, I think, is the gay issue - and the gulf between attitudes among the young and their parents.

The next generation, by and large, doesn't care. As this USA Today story shows, kids are now coming out all over the country in their early teens, where only a decade ago, it was college, and a decade before it was in their twenties. The accelerating pace of social acceptance, whether you like it or not, is an empirical fact. I wonder how many Republicans realize that the Rove strategy of appealing to fundamentalist faith as the critical political ideology of the right could eventually destroy the conservative movement. It might have secured a few short-term victories, but at the expense of medium-term coherence as a coalition and long-term collapse. And I have a suspicion that the collapse could come sooner than some might imagine.