White People Twisting in the Wind

To the Right and to the Left

To the Right and to the Left

Go outside and look around you at the people passing by. Are they all white? If so, you must be in a gated community somewhere. We all know for a fact that the demographic of the American conservative tends heavily toward the white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, and elderly. But, according to a recent article in The Nation entitled “The Unbearable Whiteness of the American Left,” American Progressives are just as far removed demographically from the people whose interests they profess to serve. The tents at either end of the American political spectrum are nowhere near as big as they should be. Wherever the voters are congregating, it is nowhere near either of the two poles.

If voters of different races and ethnicities are disgusted by being ignored, that could result in an election where the zealots are in charge, and the middle stays home. What would be an even more desirable outcome is for the two major political parties to either morph into something other than what they are, or to form new parties. Initially, these new parties would suffer losses at the polls, but eventually, the theory is that they would draw members from the two now ideologically bankrupt major parties.

The article in The Nation makes an interesting point about all-white panels making decisions affecting non-whites: “In the United States, campaigns for social justice are always ‘a racial thing.’ That doesn’t mean they might not be about other ‘things,’ too. Indeed, they invariably are. Race does not exist in a vacuum. But in a country that has never considered equality beyond its most abstract iterations and that has practiced slavery far longer than freedom, race is never entirely absent.”

If African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and others are excluded from the political process, the political process will become increasingly remote from the concerns of most Americans. When that happens, change can become painful and violent, as it did during the urban riots of the 1960s. I’m afraid we still haven’t learned the lesson, and that we will suffer for it.