Friday, November 9, 2012

If All the White Folk Voted . . .

In the televised post-results chatter of election night Tuesday, Bill O'Reilly announced with the gravitas and bewildered sadness of a postcolonial anthropologist that, "it's not a traditional America anymore." What? We legalized pot? I shouted at my neighbor Zeno's television screen.

Traditional America (a trolling motor in every home)

“The white establishment is now the minority,” O'Reilly fumbled on, heedless of my expostulation. “And the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. You are going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama's way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?”

Hispanics, blacks and women, all wanting "stuff," all overwhelmingly voting Democratic to get it. Who could have ever guessed it would come to this, people with no shame voting for someone just to get stuff? Stuff like . . . uhhhh . . . jobs, contraception and health care, progressive tax laws, Social Security payments, public education, a modern public infrastructure, equitable voting rights? Just typical.

O'Reilly forgot to mention the 39 percent of the "traditional" (meaning "white") electorate who also voted outside its species for the incumbent. By contrast, Romney evidently offered the alternative of an ennobling ethical purity: "Vote for me and you'll get squat." Unless, that is, you qualified for his proffer of a tax cut.

An egregious case of not getting it, this weary befuddlement of O'Reilly's. Not surprising in one who, more often than not, seems to have just pulled his head out of an inconvenient anatomical constriction. Where has he been these last forty years? It's no great revelation to white Southerners that they've been in a minority for about four centuries, give or take. They can walk down any street and see that demographic arithmetic on parade.

 "Ah don't believe they'd take kindly to your dancing, son - you're a minority."

In fact, given the brisk import business in which Americans once indulged unencumbered by immigration laws, and from which the South in particular profited, it's one of those wonderful ironies of history that small-government, don't-tread-on-me states like Alabama should be so hell-bent on passing intricate laws that fall just short of criminalizing both immigration and minority voting.There are now nearly as many Indian-born and -trained citizens in the country as the poor native-born souls who work at places like Chick-Fil-A, those real honest-to-gawd Americans who, but for the teeming Asian hordes who stole their jobs, could be making good money as medical doctors, geneticists, biochemists, computer engineers and so on. No, Bill, it's not a traditional America any way you parse it.

I really have to wonder if all the eligible white people voted this time. It's possible that a goodly number of them were out monitoring the polls in minority-heavy districts where fraudulent (Democratic) ballots were most likely to be cast, or were demonstrating in other more graphic ways outside polling places, and just forgot to vote themselves.

Traditional American outside polling place

At least one traditional American we know of, one who would have cast a Republican vote, was in jail for tampering with Democratic voter registration forms and couldn't get to his polling place. And then of course there are all those evangelicals who placed the Kingdom of You-Know-Who before the Kingdom of Man and couldn't bring themselves to vote for the apostate Republican candidate. All this white recalcitrance in spite of the warnings of a Dallas pastor that a Democratic regime is "paving the way" for the antichrist, which I had always thought was Allen West, but he's a goner after this term. And he's white anyway.

Allen West

If you never left the rural Midwest, or if you were the semi-lucid nonagenerian resident caretaker at a Baptist church camp in Wisconsin or northern Idaho, you might still think that the U.S.A. is a white nation, founded by You-Know-Who for White Folk.

But even if, pace Bill O'Reilly, all the White Folk had left the polling places outside their own voting precincts alone, gone home and voted like they were supposed to, things would have come out pretty much as they did last Tuesday. Which just goes to prove that if you're a traditional American you can't count on democracy to work like it should.

Traditional Americans at play

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