In the four days since Bruce Jenner came out as a woman named Caitlyn, many Americans have celebrated her transformation as a courageous and even heroic act.
But among the social conservatives who are a powerful force within the Republican Party, there is a far darker view. To them, the widespread acceptance of Jenner’s evolution from an Olympic gold medalist whose masculinity was enshrined on a Wheaties box to a shapely woman posing suggestively on the cover of Vanity Fair was a reminder that they are losing the culture wars.
Across social media, blogs and talk radio this week, conservatives painted an apocalyptic view of America. They said they felt frustrated and increasingly isolated by the country’s sudden recognition and even embrace of transgender people. They see it as immoral and foreign. They drew comparisons to two grimly futuristic novels, George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.”
“People feel like they’re under siege and that the terms of the debate are now you either applaud it or you’re a bigot,” said William J. Bennett, education secretary in the Reagan administration. “It’s like American culture is being dragged kicking and screaming not only toward acceptance but approval.”
Jenner’s watershed moment — which coincides with the Supreme Court preparing to rule on whether to allow same-sex marriage nationwide — leaves the GOP and its stable of presidential candidates grappling with how to represent conservatives who don’t wish to accept Jenner and more moderate voters who have already done so. (Read more from “Caitlyn Jenner Comes out, and Social Conservatives Take an Apocalyptic View” HERE)