I have been listening to Pat Buchanan’s audio book, Suicide of a Superpower and (perhaps like all of us) he makes a lot a lot of sense and a bit of nonsense. Pat Buchanan is a Conservative commentator and was a senior advisor to Nixon and Reagan. Why would I, who my conservative brother describes as “just left of Mao,” like this guy?
Because he is honest. He admits the Indian wars were wars of subjugation and conquest, that the war in the Philippines was grossly unjust and that the U.S. has no business poking its nose into the internal struggles of other nations. He has an excellent analysis of how American workers were screwed by NAFTA and thoroughly debunks the Free Trade religion. This honesty makes him unpopular with the far right, “We’re Number One” chanters and he doesn’t care. Good for him. If this is a Conservative, may his tribe increase.
I disagree with him on several issues, of course, and that’s O.K. I am old enough to remember when neighbors disagreed about politics and then invited each other over for a cookout. There was little of the shrill, hysterical fear-mongering that has taken place in the past few decades. We were all Americans, after all. I grew up in the Golden Age of America I am now told. Who knew?
I part company with Pat on the supposedly existential crisis of America’s changing demographics. White folks will not be a majority in America sometime around 2045. I suggest this demographic fact does not equal the “Death of White America.” But then, what do they mean by this inflammatory phrase? Do they mean the simple mathematical fact that there will be more brown people than white people?
If so, will that result in the death of white people? Do we expect the brown people to kill us? If so, why do we believe that? Is it a case of projection? Because white people took a pretty good stab at killing brown people in the past? On the KKK website a few years back, they stated that they hoped when brown people became the majority they treated the white folks with the same kindness shown to them when they were the minority.
What!? No. No, KKK, you do not hope that. Yet fear of revenge seems to be one element behind the groundswell of panic over the changing demographics; the fear (and consequent) loathing that plantation owners directed at the slaves, who were in the majority in many areas and who rose up now and then and killed their masters.
Things change. Demographics change-always have, always will. ‘White America’ came out of Africa about 80,000 years ago and great-great grandma who carried our DNA across the Red Sea to present-day Yemen and beyond, all over the world, was brown. Part of the grief for the death of White America is simply grief over change. When things change (and they will!) some things are lost and some things are gained.
When things change, hold on to what is good and let the crud fall by the wayside. If White America means white American privilege, white American genetic superiority, then may that crud fall by the wayside. I have spoken with too many old black folk to believe that the Golden Age was golden for everyone. That same soda fountain where wholesome All-American teenagers sipped their milkshakes was forbidden to black folk. Furthermore, I was one of those teenagers and we were not all that wholesome. I suspect our forefathers had their unwholesome moments, as well.
Things change. Who can dispute that?
Hold on to what is good and let the crud fall by the wayside.