The legislative efforts at all levels of government by Republicans and Tea Party Conservatives to marginalize blacks, Latinos, working women and single moms, and the LGBT Community, reflect an attempt to artificially prop up the Ozzie and Harriet white dominated Anglo-Saxon cultural hegemony of the 1950’s in a nation that is more diverse than it has ever been. It is a mighty chasm that may lead to civil war in much the same way the great struggle over slavery and white supremacy brought on the first American Civil War of 1861-1865.
For it is along with the looting of the American Middle Class by the wealthiest Americans the most divisive element in our now highly polarized politics. Like the mighty chasm written of by Horace Greely at the end of the American Civil War, this divide threatens to erupt into a violent civil war where we decide if the United States will be completely dominated by a white Anglo-Saxon elite employing the cultural and religious dogmas of classical Western culture or whether we will be a nation that continues to assert and act upon its great founding principle that every one of us is born free and equal, and that we are given as a birthright of membership in the human race certain inalienable human rights granted by God. It is not a birthright extended at the pleasure of mere mortal human agency but it is a guiding principle of right action for all time.
In its most embryonic form, this war is being fought within the 2012 Presidential Election Campaign. Romney and the conservatives who now are the Republican Party circa 2012 are trying to win an election without relying on the black, Latino, young and middle aged professional woman, and the LGBT community. In 2012, a study of the demographic makeup of the United States tells us they can win as long as they get a huge majority of the vote of white men and their like-minded white spouses.
Down the line, say in 2020 and beyond, they simply cannot do it because they do not have every single white man and woman standing with them.
The great upsurge of civil rights agitation of the 1950’s and 1960’s broke barriers over race, gender, ethnicity and social class that brought significant numbers of white men and women into political comity with blacks, Latinos, and all sorts of people of color, along with people who were previously on the fringes of our society. This unwieldy and uncertain coalition is found both inside and outside the Democratic Party and it is distinctly progressive because its age is younger, its skin is a composite that is darker, its sexual orientation and assertion of sexual freedom is wider, its religious worldview is more varied, and most significantly of all it will soon demographically dominate. That is a statistical and numerical fact that cannot be altered.
But this worrisome demographic to those who glory in the world of Ozzie and Harriet and the real Mad Men can be neutralized if these demographic groups can be marginalized politically and controlled through this marginalized legislative environment.
That best explains the flurry of voter suppression measures from voter ID to purges of voters in this non-white set of demographics, to crushing what remains of the Union movement, along with a blizzard of bills designed to regulate the vagina and control the fertility and hence the working and professional lives and influence of women, to freeze out millions of brown colored immigrants from participation in the political life of America or even to push them out of the county literally in mass deportations or to permit them to labor on here with no rights and in jobs that pay so little to feed their families.
This is in the presence of a disdainful White Middle Class that does not yet grasp that they too are victims but from those economically above. As to gay people, only the happy and contented are left alone. Those with different sexual orientations and identities are under attack as sinful vessels that defy God and morality, and demand to be seen as ill and dangerous. Outright bullying, along with discrimination in the spiritual life of the nation and in its service marginalizes them.
It’s an effort to narrow and distort the natural American electorate of the emerging 21st Century based on the changing racial and ethnic and even religious and cultural demographic map of the United States. This way, by eventually bifurcating America into a white traditional elite of the ultra-rich and their worker bee white working class masses and the electorally disenfranchised rest of us, the old 20th Century white-dominated social and cultural norms can be maintained as if the nation were defying the laws of physics one by one. Taking the vote away and destroying the anti-conservative voting blocs is necessary to retaining the old white dominance of America.
Should the marginalized groups continue to be placed into this social and cultural ghetto they might protest too much methinks and we may have a race, ethnic, and class based civil war where real killing and fighting occurs and the nation’s government is literally up for grabs to anyone—our traditions of political comity and commitment to republican government a mere memory of a forgotten past.
The oddest thing about these phenomena is that conservative white people need not reject the broader demographic represented by those who presently are not welcome in their ranks. The Tea Party and the Republican Party could theoretically CHANGE.
They could adopt a progressive, tolerant, welcoming, pro-immigration policy that brings Latinos to them with their pro-life Catholic, hard work and family ethic. Women could be captured in the breaking of the glass ceiling and real respect for what it takes to be a single mom and a working professional. The young could be courted with low cost quality educations right through college, an investment like a modern GI Bill minus the need to go kill people in far off lands first. Blacks could be brought in with long-term programs to build up and restore families and the neighborhoods they live in both urban and rural and the kind of access to training and education that makes them clients of the business oriented Republican Party. The Log Cabin Republicans could show the way to how to include the LGBT community. These changes would leave the Democratic Party crumbling into total irrelevance.
But that is not going to happen. Why ever not? Because the Tea Party and the Republican Party of today either consciously, or on a deeper yet significant subconscious level have as their raison d’ etre the overriding goal of holding on to the old lily-white Ozzie and Harriet halcyon days of the past by first recreating them and then marginalizing those who threaten that cultural milieu. This includes that old time religion of the religious right, a Baptist Bible College world of white shirts and pretty dresses with sermons raging against sin and corruption and the wrath of a vengeful God.
Yes, these people have their exceptions. For example, the Log Cabin Republicans, Marco Rubio, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Allen West and a second Congressman who is also black and conservative from Charleston, South Carolina, and Ronald Steele and a couple of other Republican black operatives who are nice people and well spoken.
But these exceptions defy the much larger demographics of the mighty chasm separating the American people in 2012 and beyond. It is not an accident that in case of emergency this Tea Party conservative political environment may be maintained by the secession of states from the Union controlled by this group and the use of guns in mass violence to do what is needed to maintain it; in short the first civil war since the American Civil War of 1861-65.
In 1861 half of the American people rejected a vision of America that was based on the free and equal principle proclaimed so exquisitely in the old Declaration forming this Union of States. Now in 2012, half of the American people wish to do the same. We are divided from one another about as equally as can be devised. This new mighty chasm threatens to snatch away all that we have won in a century-and-a half since that fateful turning point in the 1860’s: half a century since the human rights of so many of us were upheld and made vital.
This new more diverse America which is struggling for birth will not abandon such virtues as the founding principles of our republican form of government. Nor will it abandon the rich cultural inheritance of the classic Western cannon of literature. And it won’t exclude white people any more than any other race or ethnicity. Is it Civil War? We don’t have to go there.
A black president and the first time more babies of color were born in America than white are symbolic of the fears of the white majority and their need to marginalize the rest of us.
America, which do you choose? A nation of the Rainbow of diversity, or the divided, squabbling, marginalized masses we face in the rest of the century if we do not reverse course soon. You decide. For it is one of the greatest decisions we will make. If the marginalized do not become full participants in our republican democracy we cannot maintain that democracy and with it our liberties and freedoms and justice for all.
Dr. Thomas Martin Sobottke
For Struggles for Justice