September 18, 2010

Culture war over who's American

The Forever Culture War

Even as we make progress on specific issues, the broader culture war seems to get uglier and uglier.

By Ann Friedman
Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin argued in Politico recently that Obama actually ended one culture war--the one over gay rights and abortion--and stepped into another. Now, they write, the fight is over "the role of government and the very meaning of America." But really, this is nothing new. For women, people of color, LGBT people, poor people--those of us whose very lives were on the line in what Smith and Martin define as the "old" culture war--it has always been about who is a "real American."

"Real Americans are defined as much as [by] what they're not as [by] what they are," writes Amanda Marcotte on her blog, Pandagon. "The enemies list is long: racial minorities (especially non-compliant ones), immigrants, foreigners in general, feminists, liberals, poor people--yes, especially poor people, who haven't known their place in like 100 years at least--men who aren't completely wrapped up in nonstop demonstrations of proof they're Real Men, gay people, college professors, activists who try to improve people's lives, honestly you could go on."
Comment:  Yep, this is what it's been about since 1492. White people realized they were sinning badly, violating the Lord's word, so they had to think fast. They came up with a clever strategy to ensure they'd remain in charge.

On the one hand, they declared, they were God's chosen children. So anything they did was "in the name of God." Even if they did the opposite of what God explicitly commanded.

On the other hand, they declared, everyone else was immoral, depraved, degenerate. I.e., barbarians and savages. Creatures without God and thus not deserving Christian kindness. Fit only to be herded or hunted like animals.

Conveniently, Europeans were mostly white and everyone else was mostly brown. And so racism was born: "White-skins good, brown-skins bad."

Every cultural battle we've fought since then has basically been about the same thing: who's a real American. Who deserves to have the wealth and power--to rule the country. The battles include the Indian wars, slavery, women's suffrage, the New Deal, civil rights, environmental laws, welfare spending, and more.

These "culture wars" raged over whether white male Christians would have an unlimited ability to enrich themselves at others' expense. Or whether women, minorities, and the soft-headed liberals who supported them could force the powers-that-be to stop hoarding their ill-gotten gains. This is still the key question: whether the Euro-Americans in charge will continue to use the world for their own benefit.

For more on the subject, see:

Obama smeared as Luo tribesman
Robin Hood the socialist
Beck:  God ordered Indians killed
Conservative rallies = white self-pity
Angry white Americans want country back
Sherrod incident shows conservative tactics
Didier:  Stop protecting the weak
Arizona's laws = manifest insanity
Rand Paul's pro-racist libertarianism

And much, much more.

Below:  "This land is our land, not your land."