America has been labeled the world’s melting pot for the diverse people who emigrated here from around the world, and unfortunately there has always been opposition to some nationality or other regardless if they were white Europeans, Asians, or Hispanics. African Americans can hardly be considered immigrants because they, for the most part, did not come of their own volition. The news a little over a week ago that white births are no longer a majority signaled that, in due time, minorities will be the majority of the population and the implications for the economy, political life and its identity will be substantial. One of only decent things Ronald Reagan did besides raising taxes eleven times was signing legislation welcoming and granting amnesty to millions of undocumented aliens in 1986. In 1977 Reagan dismissed “the illegal alien fuss” and in his 1989 farewell address, he described America as a “shining city” and that “the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”
Now that within many Americans’ lifetimes this country will be inhabited by a truly diverse population where whites are not the majority, a conservative group exposes their belief that the country is in dire peril of becoming infested with uneducated and decidedly un-American people who also happen to have skin that is not white. The report from the Census Bureau that non-white births made up over 50 percent of all births incited the Eagle Forum, a Phyllis Schlafly conservative group, to issue a legislative alert that “America is becoming non-white” and that “it is not a good thing. The immigrants do not share American values, so it is a good bet that they will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers,” and that New York Times liberals were seeking to “destroy the American family of the 1950s, as symbolized by Ozzie and Harriet” whose characters symbolized “happy, self-sufficient, autonomous, law-abiding, honorable, patriotic, hard-working, and otherwise embodied qualities that made America great. In other words, the show promoted values that NY Times liberals despise.”
The Eagle Forum did not just go into detail extolling the virtues of a scripted television family, they impugned minorities’ character for failing to live up to the Ozzie and Harriet model of good white Americans who epitomize “real American values” and always vote for Republicans. They asserted that “the USA is being transformed by immigrants who do not share those values, and who have high rates of illiteracy, illegitimacy, and gang crime, and they will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.” So there it is, and one may be inclined to attribute the Eagle Forum’s offensive way of characterizing all immigrants, and people of color, as uneducated criminals, but their portrayal is not on the fringe of the hard right, it is the Republican mindset promoted by Paul Ryan, Willard Romney, and the rest of the good white Republicans who are working tirelessly to keep minorities hungry, uneducated, and producing more minority babies.
First, all those “dirty minority babies” are American citizens by virtue of the U.S. Constitution, and are afforded all the rights and privileges guaranteed to white Americans. For an unknown reason, the xenophobic conservatives lusting to return to the 1950s fail to recognize that they too are descendants of immigrants unless they are Native Americans, but that is irrelevant because they are white. If conservatives and Republicans are so concerned that minorities are uneducated and desperate for food, they would not slash education spending and would spend their time spurring economic growth with jobs programs instead of tax cuts for the rich and banning contraception. Indeed, any opportunity for minorities to pull themselves out of poverty is being thwarted by Republican austerity measures that are really wealthy and corporate entitlement spending.
Second, the Republican meme that minorities are draining the wealthy’s entitlements by using food stamps is fallacious and meant to engender outrage among the “good white Ozzie and Harriet” Americans. According a United States Department of Agriculture report’s distribution of households participating in the SNAP program (food stamps), white, not Hispanic or African Americans, use food stamps by a margin of 35.7% to 32%, over 26% of all participants are employed, and over 15% are elderly Americans who are barely surviving. The good white Republicans are on a tear to guarantee that more minorities, elderly, children, and poor white Americans struggle with their Draconian budgets slashing food stamps for over 47-million Americans, and keeping them illiterate with drastic cuts to the only means of attaining that “white American ideal” of “happy, self-sufficient, autonomous, law-abiding, and hard-working” people with devastating cuts to education and legislation giving tax incentives to corporations that ship Americans’ jobs out of country.
America is changing, and to keep minorities and the poor from ever realizing the mythical American Dream, Republicans are raping Americans who are not fortunate enough to have been born into the 2% wealthiest income earners, and their portrayal of the poor as “takers” robbing the rich (makers) is pure Ayn Rand libertarian ideology. Besides cutting education, housing, food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid, Republicans like Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan propose raising taxes on the poor and not to be outdone Willard Romney proposes raising taxes on the poor by 60%.
It is a mystery why Republicans hate minorities, but their policies guarantee that they will vote for Democrats and it has nothing to do with food stamps. Republicans hate all Americans who are not wealthy, but they have been relentless in their assault on minorities and the poor, and yet they are befuddled why minorities vote for Democrats. It is no mystery that Democrats are desperate to create jobs, increase education spending, and create an environment that rewards education and hard work, but Republicans obstruct every measure as a matter of course in order to provide more entitlements for their wealthy “job creator” class that has never created jobs regardless the gifts from the American taxpayer.
The Phyllis Schlafly Eagle Forum had one thing correct; when all those minority babies reach voting age, they will vote for Democrats because they will have experienced the oligarchic Republican agenda that starves their families and obstructs their opportunity for a decent education so the wealthy maintain their grip on power and prosperity. They will also remember that Democrats waged a sustained battle to bring equity and income equality to all Americans while the GOP obstructed jobs, education, and safety nets that offer the only means of realizing the American Dream Republicans reserve for the wealthy. However, more than anything, the minority children being born today will remember that Republicans impugned them and their families as illiterate, illegitimate, and gang members based solely on the color of their skin, and as legal American citizens with the right to vote will turn out in droves to vote for Democrats who work tirelessly for all Americans regardless the color of their skin.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.