An increasingly minoritizing white America are struggling with the past of a nation substantially built on the backs of imported slaves, their sweltering sub-decks populated by a degraded humanity, forced to lie in their own urine and feces. The first twenty slaves arrived in British America in 1619, according to Jill Lepore, author of a new history of the United States. The sorry institution exploded in the colonies after the invention, in 1793, of the cotton gin, an impetus for profitable manufacturing of cottons and linens and for the necessity of an exponential increase in chattel slavery in all of the thirteen colonies.
The consequences of this institution led to the American Civil War, being, as most wars, driven by economic forces, further justified by the rationalization of preserving a “way of life, and individual liberty” (of white men). Perpetuation of that puissance expanded the number of slave states as the American Union spread over the continent, through the victimizing doctrine of “manifest destiny,” enabling theft of the lands of native Americans, Mexicans, and others, including Hispanics in the great American West. Frighteningly, Hitler conceived the idea of lebensraumfrom the American model, writing about it in Mein Kampf.
Now, the chickens have come home to roost. The stain on our history, through knowledge of the past has caused a dissolution of MAGA 1950s equilibrium of America. The whiteness of “Leave it to Beaver,” and “Father Knows Best,” is reluctantly surrendering to the political realities of a woke generation. The dispossessed, the robbed, the abused portion of the American polity are demanding reparations for the backbreaking servitude and social discrimination they were obliged to endure through much of the history of the Republic but also creating much of our wealth and infrastructure. Predicated on economic servitude’s malevolent benefits and the building of America through economically indentured generations since the Civil War, there is currency to the argument that America owes a monetary debt to the descendants of slaves, not merely those who lived in the 19thcentury.
Current white nationalist backlash is no different than the traitorous Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Nathan Bedford Forrest’s (KKK founder) defending the Southern aristocracy perpetuating itself on the treasure created by negro slaves, continuing unabated through an aborted reconstruction fulminated by the impeached, but not convicted, racist Andrew Johnson, and the resegregation of the South and the military by the former president of Princeton University and of the United States, who believed that black men were inferior to whites, the heroic Woodrow Wilson, who envisioned a peaceful world order and campaigned unsuccessfully for a league of nations and gained a Nobel Peace Prize for his failed effort.
White racist men such as the current president and his base of white supremacists will not succeed in suppressing demands for economic equality, immigration justice, and more American diversity. Finally, after centuries of struggle, the world of white dominance of our country is being dragged kicking and screaming into a more diversified American 21stcentury ethos. Despite the last gasps of an anachronistic, aberrational president, a disenfranchised minority is beginning to define its own future. Republican gerrymandered voter suppression occurring in the heartland is being challenged not only by a new generation of Americans, but also by many white people who are beginning to understand the economic disparities created by racial prejudice and economic deprivation and an electoral system engineered to perpetuate the status quo of voter suppression and rural overrepresentation. We are a national entity--a people, not geographical state boundaries alone. Although our economic and federal system ensures more freedom, it also provokes more economic disparities and even tribalism, the ultimate enemy of a free republic. The electoral college is the single most undemocratic institution in our federal system, allowing states like North Dakota two senators for 500,000 people and California with its 39,000,000 the same two senators. It must go the way of the proverbial horse and buggy. It was a successful compromise among disparate states not yet a country to ratify a new constitution. Now it must be put to pasture. The middle class is beginning to realize that it is not immigrants causing employment loss, it is unparalleled technological change creating the disorder. 80% of the jobs lost are because of it, not scapegoated immigrants and minorities.
All this unhinging is happening very rapidly, almost like the recent California earthquake. Trump’s America is trembling beneath his feet, despite Twitter rages, petulant ad hominem attacks on adversaries, and the chaos of an indelibly incompetent administration that thinks that climate change is a hoax, and that “a new and better health plan” (that does not exist) will help our country by ejecting 30 million people from their insurance. And yes, that people of color who criticize him or his policies “go back,” an old Strom Thurmond trope.
The technological forces pushing major international corporations and the uber-wealthy to new, gilded age disparities between them and the middle class is becoming increasingly self-evident as a threat to our republic. Equally, the thinly veiled disguise of whites being abused by the descendants of slaves or immigrants no less a hoax than PT Barnum’s appeal in the carnival midway of a horrible freak show.