Family Values - a journey of discovery
By Daryl Hunter (6/2004) originally published in the Jackson Hole Weekly

Growing up a child of alcoholics in a single parent home with a mother who sang the praises of liberalism because it was liberalism's socialism programs that delivered the welfare check, I had a front row seat to learn the failures of liberalism.

I learned I was a republican by the time I was eighteen, just in time to help re-elect Nixon to his second term. Other than that I was the typical 70's something counter culture rebel. During the 70's and 80's I was libertarian in many ways and it was convenient for me to endorse a woman or her partner's right to choose.

five year old cowboyReagan was a breath of fresh air after Carter stagnated our economy, gave away the Panama Canal and showed Islam that liberals are risk averse pantywaists by the way he dealt with Iran. During the 80's I would cringe when the Reagan/Bush platform publicly criticized abortion as I didn't want to see the conservative's cultural antiquity ruin their chances of the continuation of implementation of Reagonomics

During the presidential campaign of 1992 the Bush/Quail ticket's main plank in their campaign platform was "Family Values. Considering my cultural ambiguity, my opinion of a "Family Values" platform was: how lame, isn't there something more important out there to run on? Granted in 92 things were looking pretty rosy except for the shortest recession in history that was coming to a conclusion, the Berlin Wall had come down, the Soviet Union had collapsed the Gulf War was a slam dunk- but "Family Values" give me a break.

Then I became a father. All of the sudden it was now my job to steer my progeny in a direction that would be beneficial for their future. All of the sudden the world was a different place, it was no longer a playground for this former egocentric recreationist, it was the world where my progeny would grow up to succeed or fail. I was raised in failure and wanted something more for my children.

A sea change had reversed the way I viewed the world. I was no longer a fiscal conservative and culturally ambiguous. I had become a cultural conservative as well. A world that was fun and convenient in a - 1960's, 70's and 80's" decadent sort of way, was now the jungle that my offspring would have to negotiate. During the Yuppie days we nicknamed "the 80's" the "decade of decadence" a term of endearment, in our ignorance, it was our belief that "decadent" was only something the rich could afford having never looked up the definition in the dictionary.

By the time Bill Clinton got busted for his Lewinsky and convincingly to the liberals, denied that it was sex, my previously ambiguous moral apathy, was well on the wane, and this outrageous lesson to America's children sent me over the top and I have been a cultural warrior ever since.

As my children grew I found some things do really matter. I became more aware of content on television, radio, CD's, video games. I found that although still secular, I came to value the Mormon Homefront Campaign public service announcements, I started seeing the cultural wisdom the Christian Right had been professing. I found that James Dobson, Jerry Fallwell and Ralph Reed actually had some living wisdom to pass along. The Ten Commandments were good to follow regardless of faith or lack thereof. Most religions teach a valuable golden rule type lesson, lessons my children should learn.

I found that my children were making me a better person, by becoming more cognizant of my children's media content, friendship choices, education quality insuring recreational busyness, and all controllable external stimuli, I was becoming more discerning. My children being witness to all things that are me, called for turning an introspective microscope upon myself and examining my internal content, because my children were watching and learning.

My children taught me family values in some sort of convoluted, circular, Karma like, what goes around comes around way. I started working harder, I gave up the fun jobs, and I started making more money. My concern for the welfare of my children was improving mine. A journey to achieve Family Values was proving to provide exponential and unexpected benefits.

We as a nation in 1992 rejected Bush/Quail, and their "Family Values' message. Fourteen years later oral sex is epidemic in our high schools because of the "it isn't sex" lesson, a super majority of Americans are against gay marriage and liberal courts may circumvent our wishes. God is being removed from the public square and being extricated from our holidays. The Boy Scouts are being vilified and penalized because they profess core values, yada, yada, yada.

I suppose that Bush 41 and Dan Quail were speaking to a more mature constituency than I could qualify for in1992. But today in retrospect I have to conclude that they were inarguably clairvoyant and their message was an important one, maybe we should have listened!


Wildlife Photography By Daryl L. Hunter
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