Watching Charles Blow
Did anyone else read Charles Blow's piece in The New York Times yesterday with a sense that the man was picking the wrong fight, at the wrong time, in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons? I had the sense that the piece was a species of racial triumphalism. It was politely written, and in code, mind you. But it was there, nonetheless.
The piece was called "Whose Country Is It?" The premise was that the nation has changed. Those critical of health care and hoping to "take our country back" are really just a bunch of disgruntled white hillbillies who don't write for the Times. America's changed; why this may be the first year in which the majority of children born in this nation are nonwhite. Yoo hoo. "Welcome," he writes, "to America; The Remix."
Just what is Blow blowing hard about?
First, a whiff of political philosophy: "[T]he country romanticized about by the far right hasn't existed for some time, and its ability to deny that fact grows more dim every day." Uh, yeah? So we don't drive horses and buggies. There are no slaves. Electronic communications have transformed the world in ways inconceivable to the founders. These are truisms.
But liberty gone obsolete? My sense is that freedom is harder to purchase than ever before. We are tread upon daily in ways might never have mentioned. Does that mean that we ought simply to say that 1787 was then, this is now, and to Hell with the Constitution?
America has changed. So be it. We are more racially diverse. There are greater opportunities for women. The role of government has changed. I can accept and welcome all this without enthusiastically embracing a Government that now seeks to impose upon me the legal duty to purchase health care or risk fines. I still believe in limited government. That doesn't make me a racist or a misogynist.
This past weekend I finally sat down and read The Turner Diaries by Andrew Macdonald. I first learned of this book defending people accused of weapons violations by the federal government. On several occasions, clients of mine have had the book in their home when the feds searched looking for prohibited guns and weapons. Possession of the work seems to drive the feds wild.
I suppose that is because the protagonist in the book, Earl Turner, is dedicated to the violent overthrow of the government of the United States. His opposition is rooted in hatred of integration and equality. He is a racist, pure and simple. The work is a classic among members of the Christian Identity movement.
I had started The Turner Diaries several times before, but the toxic racism and anti-Semitism were hard to take. This time I wanted to see it through to the end. The virulent racism and anti-Government rhetoric are an uneasy and unnecessary marriage. For the life of me, I don't see why one need be a racist to oppose the Government.
Charles Blow appears to, however. The remixed America has a black president. The House of Representatives is led by a woman, Nancy Pelosi. Several gay men, Barney Frank and Anthony Weiner, were principal House backers of health care reform. The bill was signed into a law by a black president. And don't forget that in the year it was signed the birth rate for nonwhites was higher than whites. All this yields Blow to swagger.
America's changed, he notes. The Founders are dead. Liberty is the province of fools and the uneducated. It's time to huddle all around the new hearth and sing Kumbaya.
What drivel. Demographics aren't destiny in political philosophy. Ideas are. Does Blow have any ideas, or is he just tickled, err, pink, to be running with the new herd?