I recently had a conversation with some friends about the inevitable future of this country: demography shows that by 2050 white Americans will finally become a minority, just like everybody else. While the opinion is generally that nothing will change (at least not for the people who are already minorities) I have a creeping fear of what it will mean for politics in the country, and how the discourse around entitlement, race, and national identity will change.
The cries of “Take Our Country BACK!” are boistrous as ever, and like so many sniveling pinkos on the internet, the subtext for me is loud and clear: America’s traditional power hegemony is sliding irrevocably toward pluralism and multiculturalism and the salt of the earth ain’t happy. More than that, the pleas to reinsert religious boogiemen and antedeluvian Hebrew buggary laws into our modern governance reinforce that the slow march of progress is just way too fast for some folks. To deal with their feelings of insecurity, some people lash out and torture innocent people for no fucking reason. Some people just sabotage the lives of others. But most members of this whithering ruling class just do what Carl Paladino does: he just says what he assumes is on everyone’s mind.
The distaste experienced by Paladino and his fellow real Americans when faced with the ‘disgusting’ sexual practices of the wild urban degeneration is only more hilarious when you examine the kinds of emails he drops on his friends for fun. But the attitudes he espouses, and the reckless and chauvanistic way that he projects them, sound to me like what we can expect from the supposedly-poius, white male minority to come.
As more and more demographics take their rightful share of democracy, the once all-powerful ruling class will stage themselves more and more strongly as ‘outsiders’ to the process. They will lean even harder to conservative policies that attempt to freeze the income and wealth disparities that they’ve taken advantage of for so long. The penitent shame of white, affluent suburban America that leads to political correctness (and its requisite incredulous sniveling behind closed doors) will give way to a new sense of minority entitlement, a sensation stolen directly from the group’s fantasies about how actual minorities think and experience a prejudiced world. Interest groups once covert about their dreams of a homogenous America will become more blatant and daring, pushing candidates who have no qualms about their preference for policies that disproportionately benefit their special little part of the electorate. At the same time, economic and judicial data showing the systematic oppression of racial and social minorities will be tossed aside by conservative commentators as ‘of the past’ and not recognizing ‘ a new America where no one is a majority and no one deserves special treatment.’ Eventually, the permissive atmosphere for a new racial and economic identity, and the need to fight other groups to maintain it (with no fear of slipping back to a more prejudicial era) will boil over into a rash of shock candidates whose only real campaign promises will be to a) dismantle the government that failed to prevent such a travesty from happening to the American Dream and b) to use violence and shakedown tactics to get what they want, even if they’re only using ‘turns of phrase.’
Now, I wouldn’t want Carl Paladino to “take me out“ or anything, but if I had a chance to meet the man I would certainly try to provoke him. It’s so easy! Didn’t you hear? America’s maaaaaaad. They’re maaaaaad that it required a huge government loan to bail out the laissez-faire mortgage industry. They’re reaaalll maaaaaadd at how the Feds sold bonds to fund new roads instead of letting us slip into a massive employment crisis. They’re CRAZY mad that the Feds are mandating health insurance instead of the more obvious measure of not treating sick people (unless they pay cash). They’re SUUUUPPEERRR maaaadd that measured government intervention saved the auto industry and prevented a mass exodus of the midwest and a permanent shuttering of America’s industrial base. (Also the $400 billion in stimulus tax cuts that no one talks about. Somehow they’re mad about that too…)
But most of all, they’re mad that they’re not the big boys on campus any more. And, by God, they will beat you up.