Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Traditional Americans

Pat Buchanan bemoans the plight of White America.

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.

You can’t lose what you weren’t entitled to think was yours alone. And you really can’t lose what wasn’t yours to take in the first place.

Having the Christian faith “purged” from schools that were paid for with taxes is a good thing since it shouldn’t have been there in the first place, according to the First Amendment of the Constitution. Besides, there are other faiths in America besides the Christian one, and they’re not allowed to be preached at the behest of the taxpayer, either. Being mocked on movies and TV is part of life, and if your faith can’t take it, then it’s your hold on faith that is imperiled, not the faith itself. Shuttered factories and jobs outsourced to Mexico and China were done not by liberals wanting to spread the wealth; it was done by corporations and capitalists who wanted to make more money so they could contribute it to the Republican Party. If anything, the progressives protested the export of labor because of the sweat-shop conditions in places like the Marianas Islands, promoted by Jack Abramoff. The Great Society had its flaws, but it also gave us Medicare, the Voting Rights Act, Fair Housing, and the chance for kids of all backgrounds to get a Head Start in school. And no amount of repeating the urban myth of Welfare Cadillacs can take that away.

The problem with illegal immigration might not be so bad were it not for the small businesses and factories that knowingly hire undocumented workers and pay them pittance wages so they too can give more money to the RNC. And Mr. Buchanan’s outrage might have a little more impact if it wasn’t for the fact that certain immigrants — Cubans — are not only given a free pass if they get their feet on dry land, they get to pass Go and collect their $200. But if you’re from anywhere else, like Haiti, it’s back on the boat and back to where you came from.

It’s nice to carry on about bailing out Wall Street, but I wonder where Mr. Buchanan was when all the laws on securities and bank regulation were being relaxed under Republican administrations. Did he see that it could lead to trouble, or was he standing up and cheering for the virtues of the unfettered and free market?

The assumption that Barack and Michelle Obama got where they are was only by affirmative action confirms Mr. Buchanan’s inherent racism: no person of color can get into Columbia or Harvard Law on their own. I wonder if he feels the same way about Colin Powell, Michael Steele, or Bobby Jindal.

This country was built by all of us — white, black, brown, and the multitudes of those in between; straight, gay, and the many different colors of that spectrum as well. Those are the “traditional” Americans. That’s what E pluribus unum is all about, and while it’s had its ups and downs, and even if it was started by a bunch of rich white landowners who didn’t want to pay taxes, they had the genius and foresight to make room for everyone, and make room for improvement along the way.

America was never “their” country to begin with. It’s always been “ours.”