People

There’s a lot the most people do not know about the history of this country. To really get a feel for it you need to throw that History Text in the dumper or burn it and read Howard Zinn. That the Irish that moved here — especially during the Great Irish Famine — were not wholly accepted and were quite often ridiculed and debased and even abused. Especially the Irish Catholics.

Or that the Chinese that were brought here to build the railroads, were no longer wanted after the they were no longer needed. Laws were made and passed that forbid any Chinese from even landing on American shores. That after the civil war many states had laws that forbid blacks and other minorities from even entering those states, until the Federal laws preempted them.

That even though Puerto Rico was an American colony, Puerto Ricans were expected to remain in Puerto Rico. As a matter of fact nearly all non-Anglo Saxons were met with suspicion and  sometimes contempt. White meant Anglo Saxon Protestant. So the dog whistle word meaning of “America is a Christian Nation” and “Real Americans” uttered so frequently by the republicans theses days refers to White Anglo Saxon Protestant — which at one time also referred to the Daughters of The American Revolution. AKA DAR.

Gary Younge in The Guardian this time put this most succinctly. Citing a study that was one by Stan Greenberg,

Those seeking to understand what drove the Republican party to shut down the government this month in a strategically disastrous move that laid bare its deep internal divisions – and ultimately led to humiliating defeat – could do worse than start here. The report reveals a sense of ideological, demographic and cultural siege, on the American right, from which there is no obvious escape. Unable to comprehend or process last year’s election defeat, they feel the nation has become unmoored from its founding principles and is on a full-scale, unrelenting descent into chaos. Obama has been victorious in implementing socialism and the party they identify with has proved incapable of halting the decline, leaving them alienated not only from the country at large but one another. If it appears as though they are howling at the moon, it’s because they feel all earthly options have been exhausted.

Describing Ireland’s economic and cultural transformation in his book The Deportees, Roddy Doyle wrote: ‘I went to bed in one country and woke up in a different one.’ Many Republicans have precisely the same feeling.

Central to this deep-seated sense of angst is race. In 2012, 92% of the Republican vote came from white people who, within 30 years, will no longer be in the majority. ‘They are acutely racially conscious,’ says Greenberg. ‘They are very aware that they are ”white” in a country that is becoming increasingly “minority.’ Growing increasingly dependent on an ever-shrinking base, they see their electoral fortunes waning but are resistant to adapting their message to broaden their appeal beyond their narrow racial confines. Race is less the explicit target of their anxiety (issues such as affirmative action and civil rights no longer dominate) than the primary (if not exclusive) prism through which their political consciousness is being filtered. ‘Race,’ writes Greenberg, ‘is central to their worldview.’

he goes on to point out that the gerrymandering has been done in recent decades has been to exclude minorities from voting districts.  Though he fails to note that this is also the reason for the restrictive voter ID laws as well. And that the rejection of the safety net is quote:

Second is the perceived beneficiaries of government spending. Republicans are more likely to regard intervention as being to support minorities rather than to support the poor. This goes not only for food stamps and welfare but also for Obamacare – which was the issue that initially sparked the shutdown.

Obamacare is a racial flashpoint for many evangelical and Tea Party voters,’ writes Greenberg. Their despair is largely rooted in the assumption that by championing programmes that disproportionately help minorities, Obama is effectively buying votes and securing a growing tranche of the electorate who will for evermore be dependent on government. One participant, echoing the views of many, said: ‘Every minority group wants to say they have the right to something, and they don’t. It’s life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It doesn’t say happiness. You get to be alive and you get to be free. The rest of it’s just a pursuit … you’re not guaranteed happiness. You have to work for it.’

Yet since the poor in this country is generally black or latino or some other minority, it’s actually one and the same.  With Obama being to these people the poster child with the decline of the American culture.

‘[There] is a sense of him being foreign, non-Christian, Muslim – and they wonder what really are his motives for the changes he is advancing.’ As he moves into his second term, there is now an elision in the Republican mind between what they think he is (an immigrant, a fraudster, a non-American) and what they think he does (assist immigrants and fraudsters in contravention of American ideals).

Lastly stating that they are by their action bringing about that which they fear the most, the inevitable decline of their view of America to minority status.

Just the continuation of what has been going on in this country for decades. I remember the complete rejection of R&B and Rock and Roll music by the establishment, not because of the sexual references that some had, but because it was “race” music.  JAZZ was became acceptable after if became swing and was played by mostly white musicians. The same for Rock and Roll.

White flight to the suburbs was a response to black moving into traditionally white neighbor hoods, goes on even to this day. With minorities still kept out of high paying jobs so they cannot afford to live in [artificially] high priced areas.  There’s a reason why these same folks are very OK and even support financial inequality. It keeps white areas white. And what they are seeing is that their nice white neighborhoods with their nice white families and nice white businesses all slowly disappearing right before their eyes.

But this is not just limited to republicans. Oh … NO … as Ohio Barbarian points out in his post, there are more that enough democrats that find this situation to be just fine, Thankyouverymuch !

Yes class warfare does exist but for a reason. It’s to keep racial divides they way they are or even put them back the way they were. But as Gary Younge says at the end. The very actions of the desperate republican right is what will doom them to eventual irrelevance.