How American Family Values have change on the last 20 years The values of the cozy mid-80’s American family entertained us and sold us refrigerators, cars, and cigarettes, but they were the exception, not the rule. This was the world of the white suburban minority that exerted media dominance over the rest of the nation. Televison took them into our living rooms, convincing us this was the American family. In reality, this was the world of “separate but equal” family values. This was the world of living on the right or the wrong side of the tracks family values. These were the values that put minorities in the from of the bus.
These were never the actual family values of the period. They were the values we were sold by the newly developing television industry. The nostalgic family values of the 80s are the subject of legend and myth. During the mid-Twentieth Century middle and upper class White Americans prospered. This is what is depicted in Life Magazine, The Dinah Shore Show, and Ed Sullivan’s Sunday night TV extravaganza. Minority Americans, poor Americans, single Americans valued survival, not prosperity, and struggled against the glamorized stereotype for opportunity. Family values change because times and families change.
Those who so fondly point to the “Happy Days” as the symbol of American family values fail to consider the majority of American families of the time period. In the real world of the nostalgic 80s, most families did not live in three-bedroom suburban homes and drive new automobiles. Have all heard it said many times before, “Oh well, times have changed, and we must change along with them. ” The title of this article alone is enough to make one laugh a sarcastic snicker. The truth of the matter is that as much as people seem to have a need to believe it to be so, times do not change. People change.
People have become more complacent in these modern days. Anything goes, and if anyone dares speak out in disagreement, the politically correct police will be on them in a New York second. It is true, one word of displeasure voiced against another’s lack of morality will win the speaker an instant title as an ill-informed, unyielding, old fashioned, bigot. Skirts too short…”you are so old fashioned. ” Bad language shows lack of creativity and intellect… “It’s just a word. ” Teenage role model performing a public lap dance… even the out of touch, Hollywood, best friend type of dad answers, “Oh well, that’s what teenagers do these ays. ” And all of those worshiping this one man suddenly jump to his defense, and begin parroting his horrible parenting skills. This is howAmerica was founded on Christian principles, but would you know it to look around? With the moral degradation in America, maybe it’s time we took a look at our values. First, let’s define morals: Moral applies to personal character and behavior, especially sexual conduct: “Our moral sense dictates a clearcut preference for these societies which share with us an abiding respect for individual human rights” (Jimmy Carter).
Ethical stresses idealistic standards of right and wrong: “Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants” (Omar N. Bradley). Virtuous implies moral excellence and loftiness of character: “The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, tru thful, and virtuous” (Frederick Douglass). Righteous emphasizes moral uprightness; when it is applied to actions, reactions, or impulses, it often implies justifiable outrage: “He was… stirred by righteous wrath” (John Galsworthy). Values are the beliefs of a group of people shared as a whole, unlike morals which are individual to every person. Generally, an emotional investment coincides with the values. Typically, the term is used by the media to refer to Christian values, but in a 1998 Harris survey it was defined as “loving, taking care of, and supporting each other” by 52% of women and 42% of men, as “knowing right from wrong and having good values” by 38% of women and 35% of men, and as the traditional family by 2% of women and 1% men.
The survey also noted that 93% of women thought that society should value all types of families.   Conservative definitions Since 1980, the Republican Party has used the issue of family values to attract socially conservative voters.  While family values remains a rather vague concept, social conservatives usually understand the term to include some combination of the following principles (also referenced in the 2004 Republican Party platform): * Promotion of “traditional marriage” and opposition to sex outside of conventional marriage, ncluding pre-marital sex, adultery, polygamy, bestiality, and incest * Support for a roll back of aspects of feminism and support for a traditional role for women in the family.  * Opposition to same-sex marriage * Support for traditional education and parental involvement in that education, including such things as vouchers for private, non-secular education. 11] * Opposition to legalization of abortion and support for policies that instead encourage abstinence and adoption * Support for “abstinence education” exclusively regarding risks associated with early sexual activity such as teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases while not teaching such topics of sex education as human sexual behavior, safe sex and birth control * Support for policies that are said to protect children from obscenity and exploitation Social and religious conservatives often use the term “family values” to promote conservative ideology that supports traditional morality or Christian values.  American Christians often see their religion as the source of morality and consider the nuclear family to be an essential element in society. Some conservative family values advocates believe the government should endorse Christian morality, for example by displaying the Ten Commandments or allowing teachers to conduct prayers in public schools.
Religious conservatives often view the United States as a “Christian nation” For example, “The American Family Association exists to motivate and equip citizens to change the culture to reflect Biblical truth and traditional family values. “ These groups variously oppose abortion, pornography, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, certain aspects of feminism, cohabitation, separation of church and state, and depictions of sexuality in the media.  Liberal definitions Although the term “family values” remains a core issue for the Republican Party, in recent years the Democratic Party has also used the term, though differing in its definition. For example, in his acceptance speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, John Kerry said “it is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families.  The Democratic Party definitions of family values often include items that specifically target working families such as support of: * a living wage * universal health care * the acceptance of adoption by gays * the acceptance of the non-traditional family (single parent households, same-sex marriages) * social programs and financial aid for families Other liberals have used the phrase to support such values as family planning, affordable child care, and maternity leave. For example, groups such as People For the American Way, Planned Parenthood, and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays have attempted to define the concept in a way that promotes the acceptance of single-parent families, same-sex monogamous relationships and marriage.
This understanding of family values does not promote conservative morality, instead focusing on encouraging and supporting alternative family structures, access to contraception and abortion, increasing the minimum wage, sex education, childcare, and parent-friendly employment laws, which provide for maternity leave and leave for medical emergencies involving children.  While conservative sexual ethics focus on preventing premarital or non-procreative sex, liberal sexual ethics are typically directed rather towards consent, regardless of whether or not the partners are married. [28 * The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. * * Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 2006 Anne Revillard
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