A supermarket has become the latest battle ground for the culture wars and the fight to control both what words mean and how we celebrate the family.
If you had gone into Waitrose over the weekend looking for a Mother’s Day card, you would have found, overshadowing the traditional selection, a range of alternative ‘Happy-YOU-Day’ cards.
‘Motherhood and apple pie’ used to be the stock phrase for describing stuff everyone believed in and loved without question.
Apple pie still might qualify (though only because raspberries and plums aren’t sentient and can’t be offended) but motherhood is the latest casualty in the culture wars.
The golden rule was ‘treat others as you would like to be treated.’ But this has morphed into ‘avoid causing offence, irrespective of how well or ill-balanced the taker of offence might be’.
As the link between sex and gender is being prised apart by the culture warriors of the far left, even bodies like the Anglican Church of Scotland have rolled over, abandoned their own world view and gone with the zeitgeist.
It has just published a small booklet, a Transgender Support Guide, where it claims with great authority and without any hesitation, that ‘some women have penises’.
Penises they may (or may not) have, but wombs in which the miracle of creation can erupt into life, the ex-men miss. And so because the ‘women who have penises’ can’t be mothers, then mothers can no longer be mothers either, and for Waitrose at least, the day has evolved into ‘Special Persons’ Day.’
Perhaps someone who never quite made the grade in the fruit and veg department of the supermarket, and has since been demoted to the PC Greeting Card Department, will be struck by the oncoming of a dreadful and worrying thought: Mothering Sunday is now ‘Special Persons’ Day’; but what then about the people who are not ‘special’ and for whom ‘Special Persons’ Day’ becomes a threat to their very cheerful ordinariness?
The ‘non-special’ are now excluded by the Waitrose shopping experience, and face the prospect of a crisis of non-inclusion.
But then this was never about common sense or logic.
The journalists on the Sunday Times decided to come to the rescue. They offered the Waitrose Greeting Card commissioning department some timely advice. ‘Try a card,’ they suggest, ‘that wishes “A Very Happy People of Any Gender, or Indeed No Gender Who identify as Mothers or Carry Out a Recognised Mothering Function Day.”’
This would all be silly if it wasn’t in fact rather sinister.
These ideas don’t come from nowhere. They come from the rise of the New Left. The Old Left failed to persuade the world that class warfare was the way forward to a new political utopia, so it has exchanged class warfare for cultural warfare.
But the targets are the same. God and the Church first (because Christianity teaches you to question the secular power structures and the old Marxism saw that as a great threat), and the family in the cross-hairs second; because if you want to make the State the new family, you have to get rid of and unglue the old one. Marx and Lenin were unforgiving and ruthless towards both faith and family.
Fathers have been in the firing line for a long time. But now the special pleading for the causes of the transgendered – 0.01% of the population – has started the process of displacing the mothers. If this movement was never about logic, nor was it ever about numbers.
The lesbian author and activist Masha Gessen explained the New Left’s strategic thinking: ‘Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we’re going to do with marriage when we get there. Because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change – and that is a lie. The institution of marriage is going to change and it should change, and again, I don’t think it should exist.’
The demotion of fathers and mothers, and the new patterns of relationships, all help the State become the new family, the new parent; but first the old allegiances have to be undermined and unglued.
For a long time now, schools and universities, the BBC and even the legal system have adopted the anti-family rhetoric and the sanctity of personal identity politics as the New Left tightens its grip. Last weekend, Waitrose signed up too.
Our mothers and fathers will have been flawed people who did their very best to love us in the challenging circumstances in which they found themselves.
Families are complex places in which to grow up – we develop wisdom as well as wounds.
Whatever their strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and failures, we all lose if they are to be dissolved by the identity politics of the New Left, and replaced by their dangerous, ruthless and usually incompetent idol, the State.