Events have been moving increasingly fast recently, with so much going on that I have to let go of any thought of covering it all on this humble blog. But just to take a few of the events occurring in the nation and the world the past few weeks, are we on the cusp of some tectonic cultural shifts?
Take for example, the upheaval in Egypt and other countries where leaders who have ruled for decades are suddenly being turned out amidst mass demonstrations by many citizens of those countries. I don't think there have been so many near simultaneous changes in so many countries since the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in late 1989. Whether these changes lead to a new birth of freedom for people in that part of the world or to something more grim that could be trouble for all of us remains to be seen.
Closer to home, we see the Republican led House of Representatives making serious cuts in most federal programs in the Continuing Resolution for the balance of the fiscal year 2011. With Senate Democrats and President Obama likely to be opposed to many of the cuts, we could be headed for a government shutdown on March 4 if no agreement is reached. A shutdown did occur in 1995, which was perceived to have been damaging to the Republican Congress at that time. With the nation's deficit situation much more severe now and a whole different media environment, the political ramifications could point in a different direction, reversing the growth of government that has taken place for decades.
This battle is being played out more dramatically in Wisconsin and other states, where elected officials are confronting entrenched public employee unions with the dire fiscal consequences of continuing the generous benefit packages of the past. This may be the start of a confrontation between the left wing community organizing movement and the more conservative Tea Party movement over the direction our nation takes.
Finally, as part of the House budget actions, but worthy of being highlighted, is the passage of a measure defunding Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider. Planned Parenthood has managed to embed itself into our society with a "mainstream" image for decades, but that image is crumbling, and hopefully with it, the organization's destructive influence on our society. The defunding measure was sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), who gave a stirring keynote address at the Susan B. Anthony List Gala I attended on Wednesday evening.
In short, we may be on the verge of a cultural shift at least as profound as that of the sixties and seventies that changed our society and continues to influence cultural assumptions to this day. The new shift will not be a return to 1950s social norms, but it could reject some of the more negative influences of the shift that followed, leading to 21st century norms that hopefully will include more respect for life and liberty.