God Bless Pat Buchanan ... And Ronald Reagan's White America
Sometimes a hard and ugly truth gives more comfort than the prettiest of lies. Sometimes the time worn euphemism rings painfully hollow when the proof of the venal reality it represents is astonishingly obvious. Sometimes you just want to hear the real deal, the core truth, the heart of the matter, instead of the nattering of talking heads verbally tip-toeing around the minefield.
And Pat Buchanan has finally put into unambiguous words the truth behind much of Trump's rhetoric and the popular angst that embraces it: Make America White Again ... White like it was in Ronald Reagan's America -- The Survival of White People Depends on It.
But wait. What? Ronald Reagan was president in the 1980s. Maybe America was all white in one of Reagan's tacky B-movies, but I'm old enough to remember the 80s quite well. Ronald Reagan's America wasn't all white then. In fact, Ronald Reagan's America in that sense never existed.
The Ronald Reagan's America I remember was the one in which the problem of homelessness sprung up overnight like mold in a breadbox after Reagan closed public mental health institutions and dumped their contents onto the streets, no meds, no help, no homes.
The Ronald Reagan's America I remember was the home to "trickle down economics" where somehow the wealth never made the trip. The Ronald Reagan's America I remember tried to roll back the civil rights gains of the 60s and 70s and retrench power to the privileged. Power is always thus, and remains to this day.
But even then, that particular lie about a white America was manufactured to make some people pine for a way of life they never actually had but could always aspire to -- the Leave it to Beaver two-parent, two-child, stay at home mom, suburban existence with a car in the garage and college for all, all on a high school education.
Sure, there were some folks whose lives matched that picture. But mostly, people who lived those lives lived them on TV.
From the first step onto Plymouth Rock, or St. Augustine, or Jamestown or Roanoke, America has always been a multi-racial country, and that hasn't changed. Of course, the racial makeup of the country has transformed as the territory it embodied expanded and the identity of the people drawn to its shores -- voluntarily or otherwise -- changed.
But when you consider the indigenous population, the vast millions of imported Africans, and the number of people who lived in what used to be Mexico and is now Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California, a pretty good argument could be made that America was originally a whole lot browner than it ultimately became.
Decades of immigration policies deliberately designed to encourage European immigration and discourage everyone else probably changed the racial makeup of America far more than the illegal immigration some people complain about today.
So it's not the racial change so much as the shift in the power dynamics at issue. And what Pat Buchanan has done is to finally lay bare the fundamental fear that has allowed the rise of Nazism and white supremacy movements in the U.S. and around the world -- the fear that the era of white global domination is coming to an end.
And for that I thank him. Because now that the truth has been spoken aloud, the battle lines are clear. And when the wall fails, when the browning of America continues unabated by immigration restrictions, ICE raids and asylum denials, the question becomes: What then?
What do you do with an existential enemy? You destroy them, believing that if you don't, they will destroy you. People wonder what kind of mass lunacy creates internment camps or concentration camps or genocide.
This is how it starts: by pointing a finger at a group and naming them "enemy mine." The problem with that paradigm in America is that those white people inclined to eradicate their perceived enemies waited too long.
It's too late to turn that tide by closing the border now. And frankly, they should have thought about that when they were stealing people from Africa and Shanghai-ing people from China and importing Mexicans to work the fields.
We're here and we're staying. Get over it.