What will you do, P. J.? You could support a law, or even a Constitutional Amendment, to state clearly that "America is a White Christian Nation." Call it the "Defense Of Reactionary Christianity" Act or Amendment. Or, you sad old fuck, you could stop bothering, take the hint that history is generously offering you & get your sorry, wretched "racialist" ass out of public life before you've completed your self-embarrassment project. (Not that we don't want to see you howling "nigger, spic, Joo" for a minute or so before they cut your mike off some afternoon on MSNBC, but this way we can say we warned you, but you just wouldn't listen, 'cause you're an old fool.)Moreover, the alienation and radicalization of white America began long before Obama arrived. He acknowledged as much when he explained Middle Pennsylvanians to puzzled progressives in that closed-door meeting in San Francisco.
Referring to the white working-class voters in the industrial towns decimated by job losses, Obama said: "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Yet, we had seen these folks before. They were Perotistas in 1992, opposed NAFTA in 1993 and blocked the Bush-Kennedy McCain amnesty in 2007.
In their lifetimes, they have seen their Christian faith purged from schools their taxes paid for, and mocked in movies and on TV. They have seen their factories shuttered in the thousands and their jobs outsourced in the millions to Mexico and China. They have seen trillions of tax dollars go for Great Society programs, but have seen no Great Society, only rising crime, illegitimacy, drug use and dropout rates.
They watch on cable TV as illegal aliens walk into their country, are rewarded with free educations and health care and take jobs at lower pay than American families can live on – then carry Mexican flags in American cities and demand U.S. citizenship.
They see Wall Street banks bailed out as they sweat their next paycheck, then read that bank profits are soaring, and the big bonuses for the brilliant bankers are back. Neither they nor their kids ever benefited from affirmative action, unlike Barack and Michelle Obama.
They see a government in Washington that cannot balance its books, win our wars or protect our borders. The government shovels out trillions to Fortune 500 corporations and banks to rescue the country from a crisis created by the government and Fortune 500 corporations and banks.
America was once their country. They sense they are losing it. And they are right.
V. D. Hanson, in his insufferably pretentiously titled "Works and Days" column at OlderPeople, InTheirUnderwear&Bathrobes, Media.com, is also having trouble being on the receding side of history.
Have you stopped reading, listening, watching, and paying attention to most of what now passes for establishment public or popular culture? I am not particularly proud of this quietism (many Athenians did it in the early 4th century BC and Romans by the late 3rd AD), but not really ashamed of it either.We hoped for (indeed, expected) more in the Buchanan vein, but V. D.'s screed ("evil white men" & "gay or feminist heroes" notwithstanding) was a bit disappointing, a laundry list of Kulturkampf disgust (Not all of which we disagree w/, as a honkie of a certain age ourself.) but he redeems himself w/ self-seriousness in the end.
Take Hollywood protocol—make a big movie, hype it, show it at the mall multiplex. But I went to one movie the last year. Maybe three in the last four years. There is not much choice here—car crashes, evil white men killing the innocent, some gay or feminist heroes fending off club-bearing white homophobic Mississippians in pick-ups. Or you can endure the American war-machine kidnapping, torturing, or murdering even more of the helpless abroad—with Robert Redford, glassed down, tweed in display, or snarly George Clooney sermonizing, like the choruses of Euripides’ tragedies.
A final, odd observation. As I have dropped out of contemporary American culture and retreated inside some sort of 1950s time-warp, in a strange fashion of compensation for non-participation, I have tried to remain more engaged than ever in the country’s political and military crises, which are acute and growing. One’s distancing from the popular culture of movies, TV, newspapers, and establishment culture makes one perhaps wish to overcompensate in other directions, from the trivial to the important.We can't help but admire the nerve (or sheer unawareness) of a guy name-checking Horace, dropping some Latin, & noting his similarity to Athenians & Romans of the fourth & third centuries B. C. E. in the same few hundred words where he bitches about "elites." (Great. Another perfectly fine word devalued by the staunch defenders of "English Only." There won't be an English left when these cretins have had their way w/ it.)
Horace called this reactionary nostalgia the delusion of a laudator temporis acti, the grouchy praiser of times past for the sake of being past. Perhaps. But I see the trend of many ignoring the old touchstones of popular entertainment and life as a rejection of establishment culture—a disbelief in, or utter unconcern with, what elites now offer as valuable on criteria that have nothing to do with merit or value. I was supposed to listen to Dan Rather because Murrow once worked for CBS? I am to go to the Cinema 16 because Hollywood once made Gone With the Wind or On the Waterfront?
I don’t particularly like the idea that I want little to do with contemporary culture. But I feel it nonetheless—and sense many of you do as well.
We, for one, expect a bit more from our historians. Anyone who thinks the result of a presidential election in which the winner polled a majority of the popular vote for the first time in, what, 28 yrs., is a political crisis isn't much of a historian, though. Let alone one who can't/won't mention that any current military crisis is entirely self-inflicted. Speaking of V. D.'s 1950s time-warp, remember when American military crises were not the result of ill-advised & executed occupations of countries that hadn't attacked us? Ah, nostalgia. What would Horace say?