Remember the “silent majority”, that 1960s Richard Nixon-named group of people who weren’t protesting the Vietnam War? His usage was part of his divide-and-conquer of Americans – before Nixon, the words “silent majority” meant people who were dead (since the number of people alive in the world is always smaller than the number who have died). “Tricky Dick” wanted to keep on his side those who, like him, thought the status quo was being indecently eroded – he feared (oh, did he fear!) people who were educated, intellectual, writers and thinkers, mainly because they saw through him.
Oddly, “silent majority” survives today to describe similar groups of voters, though catchier titles have been created, descriptions such as “angry white males” and “soccer moms”.
Even more odd, no one has examined demographics to determine what the American “silent majority” genuinely looks like.
Hint: it’s largely female and rather young.
That’s right. When we speak of US citizens – not voters, but Americans – we speak of a society that has suffered little in recent wars; where famine is a word applied to other countries; where pregnancy and childbirth, while not as survivable as in Europe, are conditions that most women live through; and where childhood mortality is relatively low compared to much of the rest of the world (again, the US trails Europe, whose children enjoy greater health).
Who is the “silent majority”? Women, and children under 18. They make up the majority of American citizens.
Why do I call them “silent”? First, because children aren’t permitted to vote. Second, because many US laws are made, enforced, or utilized to benefit the “noisy minority”: adult men.
Take domestic abuse, which reasonable people wish to see vanish, so we don’t need to worry about being attacked in our own homes. Current laws vary from state to state, and they’re enforced (or ignored) with startling differences even within states. Often, the victim (men can be victims of domestic abuse, but the overwhelming majority of people being attacked by those they’re in relationship with are female) must press charges herself against her husband/boyfriend, who may also be the father of her children. Even if she’s bleeding, frightened, or comatose, she’s the one who must press charges.
Why? Why doesn’t the state – which has a vested interest in peace, if only because domestic battering calls take up police time and attention, and children brought up in homes with violence do not become healthy adults unless they receive effective counseling – bring its own suit against the alleged batterer? It does so with other crimes. It could do so here. We know that batterers often increase and worsen their attacks, and that children are at risk of being hurt. Why doesn’t the state write itself in as a concerned party, and lift the burden of bringing charges from the victim?
As another example, this one of laws preferentially prosecuted, there’s statutory rape, which occurs when one of the parties to sexual intercourse is underage, and is thus regarded by the law as too young to give fully informed consent. It doesn’t matter that the sex might have been preceded by a “yes”. One of the people involved (again, usually the female) has been victimized by someone older, who took advantage of her mental and emotional immaturity.
The laws are on the books in every state, but when was the last time you saw a list of your local district attorney’s statutory-rape prosecutions for the last month? Even though the laws exist to protect part of the “silent majority” – in this case, children – they are preferentially prosecuted, which in effect protects the “noisy minority”, men. As a result, because adult men know they can get away with sex with minors – often leading to pregnancy in a girl too biologically young to safely produce healthy children – they groom, seduce and rape underage children.
These men are a scourge to the community. The “silent majority” needs them to be prosecuted and punished, just as a herd of gazelles needs to be protected from the hyenas stalking them. Statutory rape is not a minor crime. Its effects last for decades. Local prosecutors, whatever their gender, must take responsibility for deterring men from statutory rape by fully prosecuting it. They might start by finding out – using DNA matches, if necessary – who’s fathered the children of minor girls, since a child is proof positive of statutory rape.
It’s the responsibility of those who make laws, enforce laws, and prosecute laws to act in ways that protect the majority against the depredations of the minority. The silent majority deserves no less.