No Country for White, Old Men
Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg has a new column out saying the presidential election was about our desire as a nation to become more European and by sad inference less American. Do you remember voting on that? I'm trying to think what the ballot language might have been.
Proposition One (ink the dot): America should be like America (O). America should be like Europe (O). Did they have to do a coin-toss to see which would go first?
I didn't see that on the ballot. Goldberg's idea that by voting for Obama we were voting against Americanism comes from the same writer who one day before the election ridiculed New York Times statistics reporter Nate Silver for his slavish devotion to a "cult of the numbers." It was Silver's "numbers racket," Goldberg suggested, that enabled him to predict something so patently absurd as an Obama win.
Hey, I stopped reading New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman -- ever, forever, not never, not no-how -- after his justifications for the Iraq war turned out to be a tissue of lies. Goldberg isn't quite there yet: At least he doesn't have rivers of blood on his hands like Friedman. But we're close.
On the other hand, I listen to this garbage and I feel a weight lifting, a vindication -- the same thing I felt when Bill O'Reilly started blubbering that, "the white establishment is now the minority."
The irony is that they're the ones with the European sense of a racially homogeneous national destiny. The truly American tradition is the nation of immigrants, our better side, the essentially American story. It's our history as a bunch of mixed-up mongrel street-dogs that makes us robust and quick on our feet, or, as I might put it, more American (ink the dot).
Yeah. That's what I thought it was about -- old white people who have lived their entire lives in all-white enclaves with no meaningful experience of diversity expressing their anger over having to make their way in a much more diverse and competitive marketplace.
It's hard to be a white man.
In Goldberg's flimsy logic about people voting against Americanism, in O'Reilly's fists-in-his-eyes blubber-boo-hoo about the poor old white people, we see what it was really all about for most of these people, don't we? But they clearly do not.
I saw a piece over the weekend describing Republicans as frustrated that Hispanics did not respond to their pitch as the party of jobs. The Republican logic was that Latino voters aren't illegal immigrants (well, some of them aren't). These Latin people need jobs more than immigration reform, so why do they care if Mitt Romney calls on Mexicans to self-deport?
How can anybody not get this? The same piece quoted Latinos as saying a thing so obvious it's embarrassing that anyone even has to say it. In talking to a voter, once you express a basic dehumanizing disrespect for people who look like that voter, the voter doesn't hear a damn word you have to say after that.
It's how people are. Once you say that women can't be trusted with dominion over their own uteri, once you use the words rape and legitimate in the same sentence, once you convey that you really don't know how a vagina works, the women listening to you will not give a flying f-word what your position is going to be on state block grants for Medicaid. It's over for you.
When you pronounce the name of the president of the United States like you think it's funny, when you call him a food stamper, when you say he stands for laziness and dependency, black people know exactly what the hell you're talking about. They're not even going to be standing there when you try to switch the subject to support for religious charter schools. What, do you think they're stupid? Please don't answer that.
When you deride people for what they are, you deride their children, their mothers, their fathers. You deride their struggles, their pain, their hopes and dreams. Plus, you're the one who looks stupid.
It does not work. The basic worldview of old embattled racist white people does not work. It will not work, ever. It's over. By remaining mired in that kind of moral psychological quagmire, they sketch their own social and economic demise.
I suspect this is the kind of deep-running core issue that gets resolved over time by two of nature's greatest gifts to us as a species: 1) Disrespectful children, and 2) Funerals. When fathers take their children by the hand and announce they will all be marching off together into white lah-lah-land, most of the kids will say, "You march, white man."
The core of today's Republican constituency is made up of literal dead-enders. Their final gift to America will come at the end on that lovely golden field of daisies that they will push up for us. There, America will achieve its truly American destiny as a place where the word itself, white, is hardly ever uttered. I can't wait. I'm sick of it.