And why is it that we think all conservatives naturally care about the degradation of the popular culture anyway? Flip through the recent issues of any number of conservative publications and show me how many articles were devoted to addressing the problem, never mind a solution. Scroll down your list of major conservative think tanks in Washington, D.C. (around the country, too), and tell me how many have this issue as a top three -- heck, I'll take a top 10 -- concern. What of our elected leaders? Beyond a couple in the Senate and a half-dozen in the House, there is nary a "conservative" out there willing to risk an ounce of political capital decrying, beyond a throwaway line or two in a speech here and there, the sorry state of affairs in the popular culture. What of the "libertarian" streak of this broad movement? It could not care less. Only among self-described social conservative groups is there passion on this issue, yet even here it's by no means unanimous.
The decency issue is neither conservative nor liberal because it isn't ideological. When I founded the PTC, I publicly embraced that position, inviting anyone, of any ideological persuasion or party affiliation to join in common cause. One of the first to sign up was the late Steve Allen, a longtime activist on the very left side of the spectrum and a man with whom I had no common ground politically. But when we agreed to set aside political differences and focus our energies on that which we could agree -- the need to promote a decent society -- suddenly, all things were possible. It was a wonderful three-year partnership. I still miss him today.
Which is not to say we didn't both pay a price for our friendship. Steve confessed that he had become estranged from many colleagues in Hollywood for his audacity in associating with a Neanderthal like me. I, in turn, was excommunicated from certain circles when I publicly refused to disassociate myself from the agnostic Steve Allen. But those were the exceptions. More consequential was the response to this clarion call for unity: Over one million Americans -- conservatives, liberals, moderates -- have joined the PTC.
But not enough high-profile liberals are speaking out. I have heard privately from many -- "A" list actors, directors, producers; members of Congress; public policy leaders; and yes, even the liberal news media -- endorsing a return to cultural decency in our land, yet a timidity controls them, and they find it most difficult to endorse, publicly, this call. This should not be the case. Come on in -- the water's just fine.
Liberals of the world, unite! Champion this issue like you championed civil rights, and you'll change the world.
And conservatives, when they do, you better stand up and applaud. Or I'll excommunicate you.