Beliefnet
At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

To the chagrin of 57 million Americans, including yours truly, Barack Hussein Obama remains the 44th president of the United States.  Legions of commentators from across the political divide have been busy supplying us with seemingly endless advice for the GOP.

Remarkably (or perhaps not so remarkably), there has emerged something of a bipartisan consensus on this score.  In the final analysis, the orthodoxy boils down to this: the Republican Party can’t expect to win any future elections unless it “appeals” to non-whites.

Certainly, the proverbial Monday morning quarterbacking has assumed other forms as well: This year’s Republican candidate, like far too many of yesteryear, has never been a true conservative; Mitt Romney didn’t embrace the Tea Party and “conservative” talk radio; Romney was insufficiently aggressive toward Obama, and so forth.

But the line that appears to have gained the most traction, the idea that has been springing like a geyser from the heads of Republican and Democratic pundits alike is that Republicans must start to appeal to racial minorities.

We can be sure that this talk will continue indefinitely.  Thus, we should bear in mind the following considerations.

First, the very same people who are now speaking as if this is some great epiphany that dawned upon them the day after Election Day have been making this claim for years (and years). 

Second, the GOP has indeed been appealing—or trying to appeal—to Americans from every shade of the rainbow for a long, long time. 

The perpetual controversy surrounding Abraham Lincoln’s reasons for waging war upon the Confederacy aside, the fact remains that thanks to this Republican—and a whole lot of others who he deployed to the battlefields—black American slaves were liberated from their bondage.  Yet this achievement came at the cost of the deaths of some 700,000 whites (a number that, relative to our current population, translates into the millions).  But this wasn’t its only cost.  Whites were injured in even greater numbers than were killed, their property was decimated on an immense scale, and, as importantly as anything else, nothing less than a reimagining of the federalized structure of American liberty began to occur.

Ann Coulter is as outspoken and visible a contemporary Republican polemicist as any, and yet in her most recent book, she goes to great lengths to remind readers that from the time of Reconstruction until the 1960’s, Republicans repeatedly voted for all manner of measures—“civil rights” bills—designed to enable blacks to achieve a greater degree of liberty.

Forty-one years ago—one year before I was born—Republican President Richard M. Nixon signed “affirmative action” into law.

Republican President Ronald W. Reagan granted amnesty to millions of illegal Hispanic immigrants back in 1986.

More recently, Republican President George W. Bush pushed hard, albeit unsuccessfully (thank God), for another amnesty for many millions more of illegal immigrants from south of the border.  Bush also made sure that the most distinguished posts of any cabinet were occupied by blacks in his cabinet (think Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice).

The conventional wisdom can have all of the force of any phenomenon of nature. Just an iota’s worth of thought, though, and—on this score, at any rate—it dissolves before our eyes.  With the greatest of ease, anyone who chooses to think about the matter for more than the duration of a sound bite could supply an interminable list of examples of GOP minority outreach.

Yet none of this appears to have done a bit of good.  In fact, matters appear to have actually worsened for Republicans.

Personally, I believe that if—if—the GOP can survive, its best chance lies in speaking to those issues that are nearest and dearest to the hearts of whites—working class, middle class, and lower middle class whites particularly.  These are issues like massive immigration from the Third World—both legal and illegal—“affirmative action,” crime, and the importation of inner city pathology to white working class neighborhoods via section eight housing and the like.

This approach would also include frequent invocations of liberty-friendly narratives featuring America’s founders and the forging of new narratives underscoring the linkage in blood between our founders and ourselves: our founders are our fathers and liberty is the inheritance that they bequeathed to us.

The much touted “Hispanic vote,” though not insignificant, is still not nearly as potent a force as it is being made out to be.  For example, whites are a minority in the heavily Hispanic state of Texas, and yet the 75% or so of the whites there who voted for him enabled Romney to win it handily.  Conversely, as Steve Sailer observes, in places like Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—states with a minimal Hispanic influence—Romney lost by virtue of his failure to garner a sufficiently high percentage of the white vote.

Republicans will not go this route, so, if they insist on “reaching out” to non-whites who have thus far shunned all of their efforts, I suggest another strategy: abandon the rhetoric of color blindness.  If ever we needed proof that blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are most decidedly not color blind—not that any remotely conscious observer of the contemporary scene should need any more proof than that with which their eyes and ears have been providing them every day of their lives—the election of 2012 supplied it in spades.

In other words, precisely because non-whites are so intensely color conscious, they simply do not believe Republicans when the latter assure them that they are color blind.  And the more Republicans insist upon this, the less that blacks, Hispanics, and other non-whites believe them.

Thus, Republicans are perceived as liars.  Of the Republican, the non-white voter can all too easily think: “Thou dost protest too much!”  Paradoxically, it is exactly because Republicans spend so much of their time trying to convince non-whites that they do not see color that they actually diminish what little credibility they already have among non-white voters.

Less pander and more candor in this arena just might help Republicans electorally.  At the very least, it can’t hurt them any more than they have been harmed already.

There is, though, a third strategic possibility: Republicans should consider promoting lots and lots of Islamic immigration to America.  The political benefits that they can anticipate from this course of action should not be underestimated.

First, such Muslims will for the most part be non-white, so the old canard that Republicans are anti-immigrant and “racist” will be exposed for the lie that it is.  They would have knocked out these two birds with one stone.

Second, morally, Muslims are very conservative.  They are committed to “family values.” President George W. Bush once said with respect to Hispanics immigrants that “family values” don’t stop at the Rio Grande River.  Well, neither do “family values” don’t stop at the Atlantic Ocean.

Third, religiously, Muslims are very conservative.  Unlike many of America’s Christians, and its Catholic Christians particularly, Muslims tend to take their faith very seriously. This promises to serve both Republicans and the country well inasmuch as militantly religious Islam will impede the onslaught of militant secularism.

In summary, I suggest that in the wake of last week’s election, Republicans should consider doing one of three things: (1) Concentrate harder on appealing to working class, lower middle class, and middle class whites; (2) Abandon the defensive rhetoric of “color blindness”; (3) Promote an exponential increase in Islamic immigration. 

The first strategy is the easiest.  But it is also the most honest. Above and beyond anything and everything else, this is indeed what the GOP should do.  There is a complex of issues that has affected the targeted whites dramatically.  These are the issues to which Republicans (and all politicians, honestly) should speak more often, for these issues have not only proven to be deleterious to the interests of whites, but the long-term interest of the country.      

The second strategy is also more truthful than anything that the GOP has been trying. At a minimum, it stands a not unreasonable chance of gaining Republicans more respect from non-whites—even if it doesn’t necessarily gain Republicans more votes from them (Malcolm X, recall, endorsed Barry Goldwater, and he had said that he has more respect for the Southern segregationist than the Northern liberal, for the former at least lets you know where he stands).

It is inconceivable that Republicans of all people would so much as consider the third strategy. Truth be told, I wouldn’t want for them to do so.  In submitting the third strategy I intend to do nothing other than mock Republicans for all of their talk about granting amnesty for illegal Hispanic immigrants.

For all of its idiocy and destructiveness, strategy #3 is no more idiotic and destructive of the Republican Party and the country than is amnesty for illegal Hispanic immigrants and general acquiescence in the Hispanicization of America.

 

 

 

To no slight extent, this presidential race is about race. 

We all know this—however reluctant we may be to admit it.  Those who would deny this fact do so only by giving it a different name.

One of the contestants has been universally hailed as “America’s first black president.” This alone is enough to establish that, at a minimum, there must be a racial subtext to his campaign to be reelected.

Nevertheless, there are other—many other—considerations that can be cited.

For one, in any society comprised of more than one racial group, its politics will inescapably involve racial politics. Now, the United States is a society comprised of more than one racial group. 

Thus, American politics are always racially themed—even if the racial dimension isn’t explicit.

Second, Americans talk endlessly about race (again, even if much of this talk is implicit).  Perhaps they are no different than anyone else in this regard.  But the point is that it is ridiculous to think that the only time, or one of the only times, when we can abandon racial talk is when there is a presidential election and, even more unrealistically, of the two contenders, one is white and the other is black.  

Third, overwhelmingly, whites planning on voting for the white candidate.  Even more overwhelmingly, blacks (and to a lesser extent, Hispanics) plan on voting for the black guy.

Fourth, the white contestant, Republican challenger Willard Mitt Romney, embodies every racial stereotype regarding white America in which his opponent and his opponent’s ideological ilk have been trading for probably at least as long as a half-of-a-century. 

In short, Romney is the proverbial poster child for “1950’sAmerica.”  He and his family are obviously white, but to look at them is to think that they are as white as “the pure driven snow.”  Romney has a picturesque family—good looking, healthy, successful.  However questionable many may find some of the theological tenets of their Mormonism, the Romneys are known for being active members of their church, and Mitt Romney, we now know, has contributed tremendous sums of his own money to a variety of charitable organizations. 

Romney’s, in other words, is the quintessential face of the American dream.   

Yet because his face is that of a white man and a Christian, and because—especially because—Romney possesses a sea of wealth that he made in the private sector, he personifies the rank hypocrisy underlying the American dream. 

Romney, you see, epitomizes the “child of privilege,” the white bourgeoisie whose pursuit of the American dream always come at the cost of engendering a nightmare for “the Other”—“the disadvantaged,” women, the non-white, etc.

Make no mistakes: these are the associations that assume center stage in the leftist imagination.  And thanks to the leftist’s remarkably successful campaign to wrestle control of our institutions, these are the associations that now linger within the popular consciousness as well. 

Fifth, Barack Hussein Obama is America’s first black president. The image of Obama that this distinction conjures up is that of a Civil Rights-style hero who has shattered the last glass ceiling of white racial oppression.  In criticizing Obama, to say nothing of attempting to prevent him from securing a second term, his opponents can all too easily be seen as coming down on the wrong side of history.

And we know that Obama and his supporters spare no occasion to charge their rivals with “racism.”

Finally, from his pastor and spiritual mentor of over 20 years, Jeremiah Wright, to Joseph Lowery, the pastor who gave the benediction at his inauguration and who, it was recently revealed, remarked that “all white folks are going to hell,” we know that Obama has a long history of allying himself with all manner of folks who can only be described as anti-white.     

Let us be honest with ourselves: race figures quite significantly in this year’s presidential race. 

 

 

 

Election Day is just a few days off.  I offer four thoughts on Hurricane Sandy, the economy, and the September 11 attack on our embassy inLibya. The first is for Republicans, the last three for voters generally.

(1). The fears of conservatives and Republicans to the contrary aside, the positive coverage that President Obama has received in the wake of Hurricane Sandy is not likely to alter the outcome of the election.  There is more than one reason for this.

First, the two areas hardest hit by the storm—New Jersey and New York—have long been Democratic strongholds.  If anyone is going to be emotionally impacted for the better by Obama’s visit to the Jersey shore, it will be residents from the Jersey shore. 

Yet these are people who were already disposed to vote for him anyhow.

Second, as difficult as it undoubtedly is, those of us from the Northeastern United States (that includes yours truly) need to remember that our little section of the country is not America’s epicenter.  Simply put, the preoccupations of our fellow Americans from across the fruited plain are not those of the residents of Manhattan, Boston, or Philadelphia. 

Recall, just last year a tornado swept through Joplin, Missouri.  By the time that it had ended, it had claimed 158 of our fellow Americans.  Sandy, in spite of having encompassed nearly 1,000 miles, isn’t responsible for nearly as many deaths. 

And yet, most Americans couldn’t find Joplin on a map.  Most Americans probably don’t even remember having heard much about this event at all.  There was very little coverage, and the President, who was off in Ireland at the time, uttered scarcely a word about it.

(2). Obama has managed to convince a whole lot of people that he “inherited” a bad economy.  For his success in pushing this line, he has two groups of people to thank: his allies in the media and Republicans.

It is true that Obama inherited a bad economy. But to know this isn’t to know much, and it certainly doesn’t establish that Obama and his party had nothing to do with the economy that he “inherited.”  The real story isn’t nearly as accommodating of Obama’s agenda.

In reality, there are two crucial facts that no one—neither Republican nor Democrat—ever bothers to mention.

First, while Obama inherited a bad economy, he inherited it from Republicans and Democrats alike. After all, the Democrats had control of both chambers of Congress for the last two years of George W. Bush’s second term.

Second, because the economy that newly elected President Obama inherited was the legacy of both Republicans and Democrats, this means that Senator Obama is among those from whom he inherited it. 

So, even before he became president, Senator Obama could be implicated in the bad economy with which President Obama was faced in 2008. 

(3). The bad economy that President Obama inherited is not the economy over which he has presided for the last four years. The latter is actually worse than the former.

(4). While an ever growing number of people are becoming persuaded that the Obama administration is guilty of a “cover up” vis-à-vis the September 11th attack on our embassy in Libya, the President and his supporters continue to deny this.  Just a second’s worth of common sense, however, effortlessly establishes that, indeed, Obama lied when four Americans died in Libya. 

Obama insisted for about two weeks that the attack on our consulate in Libya was a “spontaneous” response to an anti-Islamic film.  Not only did he speak with certitude about this, but so did several people within his administration.  But we now know that not only were there never any grounds for this position; all of the evidence from the first moment of the attack militated decisively against it.

The conclusion is obvious: this was pure deception on Obama’s part.

These are just some thoughts that voters should bear in mind as they storm the polls on November 6.

 

 

“Frankenstorm,” the worst storm in American history, is currently beating down upon my home state of New Jersey.  As I write this, there is rain and wind, but nothing in the least bit remarkable—at least not as far as weather goes in this neck of my woods of theGardenState. 

Still, I continue to be told by media personalities and Facebook friends that this storm promises to visit havoc upon the northeastern United States the likes of which it has never before experienced.  To hear people talk—including and especially those who talk about these matters for a living—one could be forgiven for thinking that it is nothing less than Armageddon that is coming our way.

I offer some thoughts.

(1).Virtually everything that we have been hearing about Hurricane Sandy for the better part of a week has been hyperbole—pure and simple.  To be sure, the meteorologists were correct in identifying this storm for the historically unusual phenomenon that it promises to be.  But that everything else that they have been saying ever since has been a textbook case of sensationalism becomes obvious once we consider the bare fact that nothing else beyond the weather forecast needed to be said.

Round-the-clock predictions regarding power outages lasting seven to ten days and other similarly grisly prognostications do nothing but promote hysteria. 

Some will object that incessant coverage of Sandy is necessary in order to save human life.  To this, we need only note that animals don’t need to be told to protect themselves against threats.  Anyone with an IQ above two knows, or should know, that if there is just a decent chance that a hurricane is heading in his direction, then he needs to do his best to guard against it.  By bombarding them with inexhaustible coverage of a life-threatening event, no network does its viewers any favors if those viewers are in harm’s way. 

Such coverage generates panic, and panic reduces the capacity for sober judgment.  This is one respect in which excessive media coverage of Sandy and the like potentially imperils viewers. 

It is a bad enough when one person panics.  But it is infinitely worse when a whole bunch of people do so.  The creation of mass panic is the second sense in which the media may actually do more harm than good in spending all of their time talking about “Frankenstorm” and the like. 

The third respect in which the media may imperil those who it ostensibly wants to assist is in consuming all of viewers’ attention with their sensationalistic coverage of disasters!  Those who are threatened by Sandy or whatever else need to spend less time watching television and more time actually preparing to meet the threat!

(2). Modern Westerners, at least since the time of the Enlightenment (and probably earlier), are politically peculiar creatures. With the rise of the centralized modern state, the politics of Western peoples have assumed a distinctive form.

Politics, as we have always known it, is an engagement in crisis-management. 

Government, in our political universe, exists in order to supply “solutions” to “problems.”

What this means is that, intoxicated by the sea of power that lies at the disposal of modern governments—a measure of power that would have been unimaginable to rulers of earlier eras—we inescapably find ourselves forever oscillating between two extremes, each of which is inseparable from the other. On the one hand, we suppose that there is no problem, however dismal, that our government can’t put out to pasture.  That is, whether comprehensively or in detail, we are hopelessly utopian.  On the other hand, we just as readily suppose that disasters of one sort or the other are never more than millimeters away from devouring our way of life.

To put it simply, we never fail to ignore the old adage that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  Yet we also ignore another piece of wisdom: if something sounds too bad to be true, it usually is.

These two propensities are inextricably linked to one another: we need to reduce life to an endless series of crises if we are to sustain our belief in government, for government exists to relieve us of these troubles.

There can be no savior if there aren’t monsters from which we need saving. 

Now, Hurricane Sandy, or, more precisely, the coverage of Hurricane Sandy, fits seamlessly into this understanding of politics and government.  The biggest storm of all time can be met only by the biggest government of all time—or at least an activist government well disposed to protecting citizens from themselves. 

(3). Consideration (2) explains why we seem to simultaneously dread and relish in events like Sandy. The media, politicians, and, yes, the rest of us, effortlessly accommodate Sandy, for crisis is the stuff of which modern Western life is made, and Sandy—or at least Sandy as it is being depicted—is a crisis par excellence.

(4).Yet in addition to the psychic satisfactions that all modern Westerners receive from reckoning with epic disasters, politicians and media personalities reap other kinds of benefits. 

Media figures, obviously, reap ratings, lots of ratings.  This translates into ever bigger bucks.  It also means something of a legacy for those commentators and meteorologists who can claim to have covered, or who are remembered for having covered, “the largest storm of our time.”

The rewards to which politicians can look forward, however, are—what else?—political.  As President Obama’s former White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, once said: “You never want to let a good crisis go to waste.” A crisis, Emmanuel explained, permits politicians opportunities to do things—i.e. grow government—that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Crises exist to be exploited, and the greater the crisis, the greater the opportunities for political exploitation. This is why politicians have an invested interest in seeing to it that every troubling situation be spun so as to sound like the end times: the greater the disaster the greater the need for a Messiah—the greater the need for ever larger government.

None of this, of course, is to deny that Sandy will have done its share of damage.  And none of it is meant to deny that those whose lives were impacted by it are deserving of our prayers and support.  But all natural disasters, from thunder and lightning storms to snow storms and blizzards, are damaging. 

The forgoing points stand.

originally published at The New American