Thoughts from a Villager /// 001
This weeks’ blog post is very different than weeks past. This week we are publishing thoughts from a Villager that we thought to be insightful. Name has been removed to protect the innocent.
We invite you to write us as well if you feel so compelled. We’re going to try this out as we receive pieces that we think fit our culture.
This piece specifically gets into what Laura Ingraham said on Fox news about “demographic changes” in the United States. If you didn’t see it, you can here.
However, It’s not necessary to watch before reading because this piece isn’t about Ingraham. It is however about the sentiment that she shares that exists in this country and seems to be gaining momentum. Keith wrote about it a little while ago in his blog with a fantastic analogy he came up with in “Close Your Eyes and Envision” Anyhow I’ll leave this hear and say you might want to have a dictionary handy, we learned a few new words reading this. Here we go…
“In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore,” Laura Ingraham, Fox News Commentator.
Last week, within two days of launching this on-air cultural missile, Laura Ingraham walked backed her incendiary comments, but, with an explanation that dripped with pathetic sophistry, wrapped in an unrepentant defiance.
Ingraham’s barefaced expressions of her viscerally held covetousness for a bygone era — for a whiter America that she could once again love — was a shocking transmission of repugnancy, even considering that it was delivered from the sequacious mouth piece for right-wing conservative orthodoxy – Fox news.
While many from the right and the left spoke in a unified voice of condemnation against Ingraham’s commentary, oddly, I felt a sense of gratitude. Upon hearing her remarks, I remember thinking – “Finally someone who was not adorned in a silly white hood, or sporting a huge swastika on their forehead, has the courage to articulate what so many white Americans from both political parties quietly struggle with every day – a desperate sense that they are losing “their country” to people who don’t look like them, share their values, or embrace their culture – all preconditions in their minds for quintessential Americanism.
While political pundits are still mining exit polling data from 2016, and analyzing results from a myriad of focus groups in a competition to produce the most dispositive study explaining the ascendancy to the White House of such a grotesquely incompetent man, Ingraham had the momentary courage of her convictions — even if motivated by a soft but no less malignant bigotry — to unmask what many white Americans fear but are not comfortable sharing, and what most minority Americans deeply believe of them, but work to suppress so as to escape a counterproductive and emotive dissonance.
Yet, the uncomfortable truth is that the triumph of Donald Trump owes as much to this latent fear which lives quietly in the mental chambers of many “ordinary white Americans”, as it does to those vicious and venal racists who will descend on the Nation’s Capital today in a show of unadulterated hatred and contrived victimhood.
These two groups of white Americans could not be more different in moral character and temperament, racial views, political ideology, and social behavior; but, they could not be more similar in their growing fears.
Thus, many very decent and honorable white Americans find themselves horrifically bound to the worst elements of our society by a common and palpable angst over what the future holds for them and their children as their majority status and heretofore unchallenged privilege, are being gradually, but, for certain, eroded by a series of powerful exogenous factors which they cannot easily control.
Unquestionably, race remains the triggering mechanism, if you will, for the most powerful, disruptive, and potentially lethal conflicts in this country. Ironically, it was the election of an impressive, highly educated, progressive black man to the White House — judged then as a historic sign of racial rapprochement — that may have awakened, then detonated the embedded fears of so many white Americans about the coming racial and cultural shift in this country.
Laura Ingraham’s unfortunate commentary is a wanton expression of this fear but also a more troubling reflection of a swelling sentiment in this country. And no politician understands this better than Donald Trump whose massive character flaws as a human being and lust for power enabled him to exploit these deeply held feelings – sentiments that his Republican challengers and his Democratic opponent grossly underestimated..
Trump skillfully and cynically tapped into this anxiety felt by large swaths of white America, by drawing from the ranks of the willfully politically disenfranchised, millions of white voters who had given up on politics. Now, their quietly held but angry view that they are losing “their country” to people of color, conflated with the corresponding and abiding cynicism, distrust, and bitterness that is resident in portions of minority communities towards white America, stand as impassable roadblocks to a society free of racial conflict.
Politicians who use these emotions as cultural weapons to feed an avarice for popularity and power, seriously threaten the very fabric of the country they hope to govern. We would, instead, as a society, do well to remember the words of Bobby Kennedy who once stated:
“Every generation inherits a world it never made; and, as it does so, it automatically becomes the trustee of that world for those who come after. In due course, each generation makes its own accounting to its children.”
Laura Ingraham’s blunt and unvarnished call to essentially “Make America White Again” was a refreshingly honest, on-air confession that implicates many; but, it was also a dangerously disturbingly dictum that, unchecked, foreshadows a disordered and dark future for this country.
Principled and morally strong leadership that compels this country towards it better angels is curative. President John Kennedy’s televised and politically courageous call to white Americans that they be guided by scripture and the Constitution to reverse their sins against black America was a watershed moment in racial politics in this country.
Unfortunately, for the current moment however, our leader is Donald Trump – a politician who appears to have no bottom and who has incited angry passions that threaten the Constitutional injunction that we, as Americans, work every day to build a “more perfect union”. Instead he hammers us daily with his cultural euphemism, “To Make America Great Again.”
It appears that the America, many like Laura Ingraham long for, are the days of, 70% white, 28 African American, with a dash of seasoning to fill out the rest.
Sadly, it appears Laura Ingraham and millions of others are listening.