There was a long essay in the WSJ over the weekend by Orrin Hatch.
America’s culture war has reached a tipping point. While our politics have always been divisive, an underlying commitment to civility has usually held citizens on both sides together. As the partisan divide deepens, it becomes clear that we need to take meaningful steps toward de-escalation. Something must change before anger succumbs to violence.
I am, however, calling for a dramatic reassessment of tactics. We need a détente in partisan hostilities, an easing of tensions that can be realized when both sides adopt certain rules of engagement—norms to rein in the worst excesses of the culture wars.
Foremost among these norms should be a commitment to preventing communal spaces from becoming politicized. Even in our most divided times, there have been places we could go to escape the partisan clamor—places where we could leave politics at the door and come together as one, including restaurants, theaters, sports arenas and houses of worship.
The assault on communal spaces is a subset of the politicization of everything—the culture war equivalent of a scorched-earth policy. It is an attempt to burn away the last vestiges of civility and common cause along the march to political domination. Everything—from chicken sandwiches to prom dresses and even cartoon frogs—can be weaponized for political purposes. In this world, there is no neutral territory: Every place is a battlefield, everything is a weapon, and everyone is a soldier in the great culture war.
Nice sentiment, but I suspect the time when calls for restraint would be heeded is long past.
Updated: Cross posted in The Australian.