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According to a recent article by Jeff Cox of CNBC: “Since Donald Trump won the Presidency, he has presided over … the best economy the country has seen since well before the financial crisis. Consumer and small business confidence is up.”

Cox provides the precise data showing the steep drop in unemployment from the month prior to Trump’s election until the present. This includes 4-1/2 million new jobs and a steep rise in average hourly wages and consumer confidence. The Nasdaq is shown to have jumped from 4,861 to 7,178 in the two-year period. Overall, the economy is booming under President Trump and the Republican Congress.

Despite this worthwhile reason to vote Republican in the upcoming election, I think voters should go beyond the fantastic economy. Let’s consider the critical importance of conservative social issues in this upcoming election. Let me explain.

From the early 1960s, in which marriage and family could be expected of most American adults and divorce was aberrant, our nation has devolved significantly and extraordinarily. Out-of-wedlock childbirth today has moved beyond 40 percent and is rising quickly.

Even more disturbing, according to relationship analyst Mary Fetzer: “Young adults are delaying marriage – or opting not to marry at all. Meanwhile cohabitation has risen across all age groups.”

According to Gallup’s 2017 Values and Beliefs, 73 percent of Americans believe divorce is “morally acceptable,” which is 14 percent higher than with the same study in 2001.

Abigail Beebe notes that “more parents are not getting married at all. … It’s essentially divorce, minus alimony and equitable distribution for couples who have children and are not married.” While marriage plummets, single parenthood is skyrocketing.

As Isabel Sawhill noted in a 2014 Brookings Institute article summarizing the findings of the effects of children raised by single mothers: “Children raised by single mothers are more likely to fare worse on a number of dimensions, including their school achievement, their social and emotional development, their health and success in the labor market. … more likely to become teen parents and less likely to graduate from high school or college.”

Multiple studies have shown the exponentially higher incarceration rates of those raised without fathers. Interestingly, Sawhill also noted from the same study: “Children who end up in single-parent families as the result of the death of one parent do not have the same poor outcomes as children raised by (one parent) due to divorce or out-of-wedlock divorce.” An explanation is with the moral distinction. Children experiencing the death of a parent, within the context of a traditional family unit, will not experience the moral dimension of divorce or illegitimacy. Though there are individual examples of children succeeding from single-parent homes, we cannot ignore the general harm.

The conservative position stresses the importance of fostering and strengthening traditional family structure, in addition to the importance of protecting the unborn. The ideal is lifelong marriages with a father and a mother raising children together as a team. Judeo-Christian religious values, including biblical admonitions about lifelong marriage and duties of fathers and mothers in child-rearing, are critical.

The conservative position fosters the unique attributes of men and women, with particular emphasis on their roles within families. It encourages men to act as protectors and providers of families, and the development of boys into men. This position includes mutual respect and cooperation of sexes toward each other. It encourages respect for life, particularly the life of the unborn, who are the responsibility of fathers and mothers in traditional families.

The progressive/liberal position has become antagonistic to the ideal of the traditional family. As one case in point, after speaking and writing in favor of traditional families, UK writer Melanie Phillips experienced the attack of the progressive left: “(they) call me insane, reactionary, racist, a Nazi … (and) accused of ‘unmatched depths of ignorance and bigotry.’” The modern left seeks to blur gender roles among adults and children and now denigrates what it calls “toxic masculinity.”

The modern left's definition of toxic masculinity has come to include behaviors of men once held in high esteem by all Americans. It generally encourages and idealizes single parenthood as superior to traditional families and offers praise and even financial incentive through political policy.

Insidiously, it now creates division and animosity between sexes, particularly within the context of a radicalized form of feminism. All Americans became spectators to the anti-male rhetoric on mainstream media during the Kavanaugh hearings. Handmaidens Tale dress has become the new symbol of the left's antagonism toward traditional manhood. It attempts to redefine marriage from a sacred lifelong institution into a malleable and fluid construct, disconnected from conception and rearing of children.

Social issues are directly related to national fiscal concerns in the long term, as the nation must pay the price of the breakdown of the family. However, as voters go to the polls on Nov. 6, a primary concern should be about the long-term direction of the nation with social issues. The importance of marriage, child-rearing, family and life. Proverbs 14:34 telsl us: "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." It's time for America to listen for this election and put righteousness first.

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Bill Connor, an Army Infantry colonel, author and Orangeburg attorney, has deployed multiple times to the Middle East. Connor was the senior U.S. military adviser to Afghan forces in Helmand Province, where he received the Bronze Star. A Citadel graduate with a JD from USC, he is also a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Army War College, earning his master of strategic studies. He is the author of the book "Articles from War.”

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