So many inventors, artists, explorers and business achievers do their greatest work when they reject the dogma of the established religion, when they move off the common path, when they dare to be the truly free individuals that the GOP allegedly celebrates. Family values are certainly important -- for raising families. But not necessary at all for individual achievement.
You don't have to dig deep into history to find great achievers who overcame horrendous childhoods, or lived their entire lives with terrible personalities, character flaws and attitude problems. Their successes prove that having a "good," stable family is not necessary for financial success. You also don't have to dig very deep to find rich people who have been incredibly successful capitalists who had no regard at all for conventional morality, even if they were born into traditionally "good" families. They quit going to church, they laughed at prohibition, they cheated on their spouses, they lied and cheated and broke any rule that they felt stood in their way. Up to and including various ways of killing people -- be it violence against the early unions, creating and defending deadly working conditions, creating and selling dangerous products, etc.
Yet some Republicans believe that the way to bring business-oriented immigrants into the GOP fold is to claim to be the "party of work." The very idea that one "party" can even think about claiming to be THE "party of work" (See David Brooks' column here) indicates that GOP supporters have a very long way to go before overcoming their arrogance. You can't claim to celebrate individualism or believe in laissez-faire capitalism while rejecting so many lifestyles and trying so hard to dictate morality. You can't believe in America as the Land of Opportunity while trying to close the borders.
It strikes me as interesting how many of our increasingly downtrodden mid-lower class working people have been such believers in the mythical image of pure capitalism as some sort of Great Savior of American success. The excesses and abuses committed by the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Carnegies and Morgans of America's industrial boom years (along with their European counterparts) sowed the seeds of Marxism, which later became Communism, and then produced the totalitarian regimes of China and the Soviet Union.
Yep, one-party dictatorship under the name of Communism certainly proved to be a failure. But so many people forget that the public opened itself to Communism because the industrialists had proven to be so abusive.
People also forget that the emergence of America's golden era of the middle class occurred precisely because the federal government began regulating the excesses of unfettered capitalism -- ending child labor, requiring workplace safety, establishing the 40-hour work week, minimum wages, anti-trust laws, etc ) and offering socialistic safety net programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. It was completely thanks to these changes in society (adopted entirely against the will of the business community) that the great American family finally was able to blossom.
America -- the great nation founded on a Constitution laced with compromises, checks and balances -- had found another way to keep things in balance. We would reject the extreme Marxist/Communistic notion of the state taking over private property and nationalizing industries. But we would embrace, support and empower the working class in many ways. Socialism was and is the middle ground, and remains the only political concept that walks hand in hand with democracy.
But the right-wing blowhards of talk radio have largely succeeded at making socialism sound like a dirty word. We should have known better. Only now, after the American middle class wasted years watching a new generation of unregulated global capitalists destroy their security and prosperity has a majority of the public begun to stand up for themselves.
But there's a new balance now. And new hope for a decent future. May it last for years to come.