to: against dualistic world view
Aggression of the Victimized Minority
by William McGaughey, Jr.
Who would want to be a victim? It seems that many people do. Victimhood is at the center of religions. Picture the image of Jesus on the Cross. Jesus was a victim. He was cruelly put to death on the false charge of having committed blasphemy and having claimed to be a king.
Had the story ended here, however, Jesus’ victimhood might have been forgotten. The Christian religion also affirms that he was resurrected from the dead. And because Jesus rose from the dead, he exhibited divine powers whose benefit extended to others. Through belief in Jesus, we are all able to escape death’s grip and dwell in Heaven forever. Those who are victims of original sin will later be redeemed.
However, this book is mainly about politics. American politics today is saturated with the idea of victimhood. It is the victimhood of minorities - racial, religious, gender, and sexual preference. The Democratic party is the party of victimized minorities that have become politically aggressive. By default, Republicans represent the victimizing majority. By the year 2042, it is said that the victimized classes will become the demographic majority. Who knows what will happen then? Will a different kind of victimization take place as non-Hispanic whites comprise a minority of the U.S. population?
The Founding Fathers feared that a “tyranny of the majority” would emerge in a democratic nation. It has turned out quite differently. In a nation as large as the United States, individual opinion is ineffective in influencing policy at the higher levels of government. It takes highly motivated, coordinated groups of people to do that. Minorities, feeling threatened by the majority population, are so motivated. Therefore, a number of demographic groups have become effective political operatives as special-interest groups. Most use victimhood as an emotional hook.
The politics of victimhood have a long antecedent. This type of politics is the special possession of the Jewish people. If one had to cite a beginning point, it would be the Babylonian captivity. Jerusalem, the capital city of Judea, fell to King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. Forty-eight years later, in 538 B.C., the Persian emperor Cyrus II issued an edict that allowed the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem and rebuild Solomon’s temple. Those forty-eight years were critical in creating the Jewish identity.
What was that identity? First, the Jews were victims; their once-proud nation had been conquered by foreigners. However, the Jews, unlike other conquered peoples, refused to be assimilated within the foreign empire. They retained a fierce and uncompromising devotion to their tribal god, Jehovah. When Cyrus allowed the Jews to return home to Judea, this was taken as a sign that Jehovah, having power over a foreign emperor, had power over everything and therefore was the only real God. Because this God was on their side, the Jews knew they would ultimately triumph.
In the meanwhile, Jews such as Daniel were becoming top-level administrators in the Babylonian and Persian empires. The Jewish people, despite being a demographic minority, learned how to maneuver politically in large political empires comprised largely of other people. They also learned how to retain their demographic cohesiveness as a minority population in such a situation.
Recall that Jacob’s son, Joseph, had been a top-level adviser to the Egyptian pharaoh. This relationship would later extend to empires in the modern era. Benjamin Disraeli, the British prime minister, became a favorite of Queen Victoria. One would assume that personal talent carried such Jews to the top of imperial bureaucracies, but the expectation of such relationships may also have become engrained in Jewish culture.
A critical event in the saga of Jewish identity was the advent of Christianity. Jesus of Nazareth was proclaimed the Messiah whose appearance had been foretold in Jewish prophetic scripture. At first, this Christian religion was restricted to Jews; however the Apostle Paul and his fellow evangelists prevailed over the faction led by James, brother of Jesus, which insisted that Christians first be circumcised. Christianity thus spread to the Gentiles, eventually becoming the state religion of Rome. The Christian church, surviving the fall of the Roman empire, came to claim the allegiance of peoples throughout Europe and the places colonized by Europeans.
Was Christianity a Jewish religion? That would appear to be the case, considering that Jesus and his disciples were all Jewish and their story was set in Galilee and Judea during the early period of Roman occupation. However, a purely Jewish religion would not have appealed to Gentiles. The Gospels told a story of Jesus being delivered to the Cross through the machinations of the Jewish priesthood. By and large, the Jewish population refused to embrace Christianity, preferring rabbinical Judaism. Because of these facts, an antagonistic relationship developed between the Jewish and Christian communities. Medieval Christians called the Jews “Christ-killers.” Jews called those attitudes “anti-Semitic”. A somewhat warmer, though still wary, relationship between the two religions has developed in recent times.
Religious passions ran hot through the period of the Reformation. Then, in the 18th century came the “Enlightenment”, a period when non-religious, rational theories of the universe prevailed. Jews then came out of the ghetto to participate in many areas of community life along with Gentiles. Jewish culture in a secular form bloomed during that period. The Napoleonic revolution promoted the idea of a meritocracy to replace inherited position. In the United States of America, the doctrine of separation of church and state promised that minority religions such as Judaism would be tolerated. In the 1890s, many Jews experiencing persecution in Czarist Russia emigrated to America with tickets on the Hamburg steamship line financed by the Baron Hirsch Fund. They often settled in New York City.
By this time, Jews had acquired a reputation for being aggressive merchants and bankers. In 1863, General Ulysses S. Grant issued an order, later countermanded by President Lincoln, that Jewish peddlers would not be allowed to enter Union camps to conduct business. Shakespeare’s play, “The Merchant of Venice”, presents the character of Shylock, a Jewish financier who demands “a pound of flesh” from debtors who cannot repay their debts. One can assume that such practices contributed to the anti-Jewish attitudes prevalent among Gentile populations in Europe and the Americas. Additionally, Jews were prominent in labor unions, seen as a threat by the business class, and in radical political movements such as Marxist socialism. Like other immigrant groups, Jews became involved in organized crime. For instance, the Murder Inc. gang network in New York City was mostly Jewish although Italians also played a role in that enterprise.
By the first half of the 20th Century, Jews had gained a strong foothold in U.S. business although they were still struggling to gain social acceptance. Ivy League colleges and leading business clubs were still dominated by the “WASP” (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant) upper or upper-middle class. On the other hand, Jews quickly assumed dominance in the sound-recording and motion-picture industries, the movie newsreels, and, later, the radio and television networks. They became leading news editors and reporters. In those positions, Jews were able to control the narrative of news and entertainment presented to the American people. They were able to determine what types of people were presented in a positive or negative light in the entertainment or news productions.
Jews meanwhile become sensitive to criticisms of themselves as a group. The B’nai Brith Anti-Defamation League (now called The Anti-Defamation League), founded in 1913, was quick to identify and condemn “anti-Semitic” persons, statements, or behavior; and such condemnations were widely reported in the news media, staffed as they were with editors receptive to that kind of message. The Southern Poverty Law Center, also created by Jews and also enjoying unwavering media support, has more recently joined the Anti-Defamation League as an organization that demonizes persons or groups hostile to certain minorities.
Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in the 1930s caused great concern among American and other Jews. Hitler was explicitly and strongly anti-Jewish. Prominent Americans such as Henry Ford or Charles Lindbergh who were perceived to criticize Jews, sympathize with Hitler, or oppose U.S. involvement in World War II became targets of Jewish wrath. However, the United States did go to war against the Axis powers, Nazi Germany was defeated, and the Allied forces discovered German concentration camps where many European Jews and others had been slaughtered.
Following World War II, the state of Israel was established as a Jewish homeland. The Holocaust, the murder of Jews in German concentration camps, became a kind of secular Jewish religion. This was a religion of Jewish victimhood meant as a cautionary tale concerning anti-Semitism and its dire consequences. Survivors of the Nazi death camps were revered as saint-like figures. In this “religion”, correct speech became important. Utmost reverence for the suffering of the Jewish people was required, among Gentiles and Jews alike.
The state of Israel, established in 1948, soon became embroiled in wars and disputes with its Arab neighbors. American Jews pressured the U.S. government to provide copious financial and diplomatic aid to the Israeli government. When U.S. Senator Charles Percy voted to sell advanced aircraft to Saudi Arabia, Jews in Illinois and elsewhere organized to defeat him in the next election. Jews were meanwhile becoming prominent in both political parties as office holders, political donors, and advisers. The largely Jewish “neo-cons”, gaining influence and power from a conservative direction, successfully lobbied to have the U.S. military attack Iraq. AIPAC (the America Israel Public Affairs Committee) dominates both houses of the U.S. Congress. Its chief goal is to isolate and perhaps attack Iran because of the perceived nuclear threat to the state of Israel.
Jews are a religious and ethnic minority in a nation (the United States) whose ethnicity is drawn mainly from Europe and whose religion is mainly Christian. The Jewish “agenda”, so to speak, is to protect Jews as a minority against threats from the majority population. Often this is done in a covert manner - i.e., behind institutional facades. Toward that end, Jews were instrumental in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 which abolished immigration quotas based on country of origin, giving preference instead to immigrants with family relationships to U.S. citizens and to those with valuable work skills.
The long-term result was to increase the number of immigrants from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, greatly increasing ethnic and racial diversity in the U.S. population. It is interesting to compare this Jewish-supported policy of increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the United States with the stated goal of making Israel “a Jewish state” rather than a state where Palestinians enjoy equal citizenship.
Jews are not really illustrative of a victimized minority except with respect to the Holocaust and anti-Jewish pogroms. Their income and wealth are above average. Their political influence is impressive. However, the Jewish people have a long history of honing political and cultural skills as a minority competing for power in an alien society. Their contribution toward the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s utilized that expertise. Black Americans, likewise a minority population, thus acquired an experienced and powerful ally in their fight against white supremacy. That story, too, goes back a century or more.
Following the U.S. civil war, southern blacks who were suddenly emancipated from slavery were unprepared for their new role. A former slave, Booker T. Washington, established educational institutions for the freed slaves. Progress toward racial equality was being made. Washington’s efforts were being recognized and accepted by white society. However, a backlash against Reconstructionist rule in the immediate postwar years had brought the reassertion of white control in the southern states, featuring segregation of the races. This was the situation that prevailed until the 1960s when Civil Rights movement achieved a political breakthrough in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The incorporation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1911, replacing the National Negro Committee, brought many Jews into positions of leadership in an organization devoted to helping blacks achieve full citizenship. W.E.B. Dubois, a more confrontational leader than Booker T. Washington, was the leading black participant. The NAACP organized a national campaign against D.W. Griffith’s film, “Birth of a Nation” in 1914 because it glorified the southern Ku Klux Klan. It later launched a campaign against lynching and filed a series of lawsuits to enfranchise black voters in the south.
Jewish Americans played a prominent role in black people’s struggle for social and legal equality. Half the Civil Rights lawyers in the south in the 1960s were Jewish as were the whites who went to Mississippi to challenge the Jim Crow system. Jews were among the close advisors to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A Jewish Supreme Court justice, Felix Frankfurter, was instrumental in adopting the landmark decision, Brown v. Board of Education, which led to the desegregation of schools.
It may be that Jews sympathized with the plight of southern blacks because they, too, were a minority in a society dominated by white Christians. When Jesse Owens in winning several gold medals at the 1936 Olympic games infuriated Hitler, Jewish people cheered. Blacks struggling for equality adopted the Jewish model of Moses leading his people from bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land. Apart from this, Jews and blacks were united in their opposition to a WASP-dominated society and their mutual exclusion from positions of leadership. Jews, strategically placed in the media and the legal profession, were able to help their black brethren. In addition to providing financial resources, they provided a model of successful struggle for power and position in an alien society.
Keep in mind that the mainstream Christian churches were then abandoning hard-core theological positions in favor of an ecumenical effort to do good in the world. The fight for racial integration became a cause that united both Protestant and Catholic churches, especially since Christian ministers such as Martin Luther King were leading the fight on behalf of southern blacks. As Tom Hayden explained it in a C-SPAN interview, the Civil Rights movement was essentially a “Christian religious movement with heavy Jewish input from the north.” These Christian and Jewish idealists were less eager to assist black leaders such as Malcolm X who embraced the Muslim faith and was critical of Jews.
A largely forgotten aspect of the Civil Rights movement was its support from the American communist party. Communism was for awhile a cause célèbre among Jewish intellectuals. The sons of Hollywood studio bosses established communist cells in the motion-picture industry. When the studio bosses understandably rejected the communist ideology and “caved in” to Congressional investigators, this cause collapsed. However, the communist party in the 1930s and 1940s was also among the most ardent supporters of the black Civil Rights movement. Black communists such as Paul Robeson became folk heroes. It may be that the concept of “political correctness” in racial and other matters is a relic of the communist idea of toeing the party line. So is the idea of victimhood in relation to witch-hunting government officials.
Southern blacks in the mid 20th century were indeed a victimized group relative to other Americans. Their incomes and housing were below average. Their children went to inferior segregated schools. They were denied voting rights. A number of those deficiencies were corrected by legislation passed in the 1960s after pressure from black activists and their white allies. However, American blacks have remained in an inferior position with respect to income, education, and other achievements. Since the legal impediments have ended, the question is whether that condition is the result of a more subtle form of racial discrimination or of black people’s own deficiencies.
An enduring result of the Civil Rights movement is that blacks, who had previously voted for the party of Abraham Lincoln, started voting solidly Democratic. (Over ninety percent of black Americans nationwide voted for Al Gore in 2000.) The white southern vote, once solidly in the Democratic camp, swung over to the Republicans after the Republican presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, the Dixiecrat candidate for President in 1948, supported him for President as a Republican.
Actually, the change began with John F. Kennedy. Senator Kennedy, a Democrat, telephoned Democratic elected officials in the south to ask that Martin Luther King be released from prison. When he was, King’s father, previously a Republican, delivered to Kennedy a large number of votes from southern blacks.
The moral campaign against race prejudice began with a plea to end religious prejudice. Senator Kennedy, a Roman Catholic, was running for President. A previous candidate for President, Governor Al Smith of New York, was widely considered to have lost the election because of his Catholic religion. Senator Kennedy pleaded with a group of Protestant ministers gathered in Houston, Texas, to accept his assurances that religion would not dictate his decisions if elected President. This may have been the single most important event in the Presidential election campaign of 1960.
Kennedy won the election and kept his promise. Then the issue of racial prejudice confronted the nation. With some initial reluctance, President Kennedy endorsed the goals of the Civil Rights movement. Its theme of combatting racial prejudice dovetailed nicely with his own desire to combat prejudice against Catholics. He supported a Civil Rights bill which languished in Congress until President Lyndon B. Johnson twisted arms to gain its passage in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination. Thereafter, the issue of anti-Catholic bias faded. The attention was exclusively upon race.
Two events cemented the focus on race. First was the fact that black Americans were becoming an increasingly important group of voters, who, unlike the Catholics, voted in a bloc. Blacks across the nation voted solidly for Democrats. Concentrated in large cities, they were able to elect mayors of their own race in cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
A second event was the race riots of the late 1960s. Urban blacks demonstrated their power and audacity by setting fire to buildings in a number of cities. When such an outbreak of violence occurred after Martin Luther King’s assassination, this was interpreted as justifiable outrage. Senator Bobby Kennedy, then campaigning for President, was credited with averting racial violence in Indiana when he addressed a largely black crowd expressing empathy for those who grieved King’s death; he said he, too, had lost a brother to assassination. The idea caught on that white Americans had better do something fast about racial injustice or the whole country might burn.
Because public sentiment - especially as expressed in the media and in church pulpits - ran heavily in favor of blacks struggling for equality, the Republicans dared not criticize the black Civil Rights movement. Instead, there were oblique references to a “silent majority” of dissenters. President Nixon set up special programs to help black business owners. He endorsed the concept of affirmative action to remedy past injustices and discrimination perpetrated against blacks. Laws were passed against racial discrimination in housing and hiring. Employers were made responsible for policing and curbing racial slurs in the work place that might result in expensive lawsuits.
Corporate America jumped aboard the bandwagon of ending racism. So did academia and the entertainment industry. When Martin Luther King’s birthday became a national holiday, a new public forum was created to commemorate and renew the ideals for which he stood. The Civil Rights movement itself had become like a civic religion.
As a corollary, the white population became despised. Academicians began to talk of “white privilege” and warn of “institutional racism” where no specific instances of racism could be found. Workshops were conducted to purge whites of their racist attitudes and make them feel guilty. In reality, whites feared black violence. Alternatively, if they used the N-word, they knew they might be fired.
This situation is with us now. Racial politics and the resulting political correctness are virtually the law of the land. Black Americans are certifiable victims who overcame their disadvantage by heroic struggle led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Whatever they might do wrong now is a result of the lingering heritage of disadvantage left by slavery and Jim Crow laws in the south. Therefore, the fault is with the white population that created those institutions. We (whites) need to redouble our efforts to help blacks get past this bitter legacy. We need to increase black homeownership and reduce racist disparities in outcomes in the schools. Anyone who disagrees with such prescriptions is a racist. White people jump when accused of being that.
Quite honestly, the Civil Rights movement has gone past black grievances to other kinds of issues. Americans are tired of the old racial complaints, especially now that a black has been elected President. Instead, the types of grievances raised by blacks fifty or sixty years ago and the type of political campaign they waged then to advance the interests of a demographic minority have become a mold for political aggression by other groups. They, too, want the “majority” population to jump when they push the button of claimed discrimination.
Consider the Women’s Movement. Even though females comprise the same percentage of the U.S. population as males and perhaps even more, they are sometimes considered a minority by virtue of being in an inferior power relationship. Religious tradition often makes the man the head of the household. Men hold most positions of leadership in political, commercial, and other public institutions. Couples often have sexual relations with the man on top. Therefore, women are inferior to men in this society. We are living in a patriarchy that oppresses women and it must be ended.
The publication of Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, in 1963 is often credited with launching the women’s movement. However, this movement did not really start until the early 1970s. Some explain that women active in New Left causes became dissatisfied that they were assigned the menial tasks in that movement while their male counterparts took leading positions. Seeing how blacks had successfully thrown off the shackles of an inferior place in society, these women wanted the same for themselves.
So the “women’s liberation” movement began. Women marched, burned their bras, excoriated male chauvinists, and demanded that an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution be passed. This agitation went on for more than a decade. In style and substance, it followed the black Civil Rights movement, deriving its acceptability from that earlier movement.
The women’s liberation movement was less successful than the Civil Rights movement because women, though more numerous than blacks, did not constitute a unified voting bloc. Most women had relatives who were men. They had fathers, brothers, and sons within their own family whose situation they intimately and sympathetically knew. Women, especially married women, were less eager to line up in a political fight against men than blacks were with respect to the white population.
Furthermore, women are less credible victims than southern blacks. It was hard to imagine that a Marie Antoinette, Doris Duke, or Leona Helmsley was a victim of male oppression. Everyone knew that women, even if not occupying a significant position in business or politics themselves, generally took on the social status of their birth or marital family. Sexual intercourse was usually not “rape” but a consensual act indispensable to procreation of the human species. So many of the feminist claims contradicted reasonableness and community tradition, if not nature itself. Therefore, this movement did not last much beyond the 1980s. The next generation of women, eschewing anti-male vitriol, was back to chasing potential boyfriends.
Even so, feminism has had a lasting effect within the judicial system and police departments. Divorce courts, staffed with female judges, clerks, and attorneys, often side with the wife and against the husband. Domestic abuse, which now consists of verbal exchanges that make women feel uncomfortable as well as actual physical violence, has become a crime justifying police intrusion into family affairs. Police departments are sometimes driven by a weird gender dynamic in which speaking to or even looking at a woman in a particular way becomes an offense requiring punishment.
The media and entertainment industries also enforce ways of thinking about gender roles. Michael Barone, a columnist with U.S. News & Report, once told an audience in Minneapolis that “feminist thought police patrol every news room” in America. Their stories are about heroic women breaking through glass ceilings and the like. Stay-at-home moms, also heroic, do not command similar attention and respect.
Now let us move on to a “third wave” of Civil Rights-inspired movements which is gay liberation. This brings us up to the present era. Gays and lesbians have, indeed, endured social oppression for a long time. Even small children taunt each other over perceived homosexuality. In the past, there have also been legal threats including laws that make homosexual acts a criminal offense. There have been impediments to committed relations between persons of the same sex regarding medical visitations and inheritance of property. The gay-rights movement properly resembles the black Civil Rights movement in aspiring to remove obstacles to equality in those respects.
A recognized beginning of the gay-rights movement was the so-called “Stonewall riots” that took place in Greenwich Village, New York, in June 1969. The New York police raided the Stonewall Inn, a bar frequented by gays and lesbians, provoking a riot. This uprising was taken as a symbol that gays and lesbians were fighting back against oppression on the basis of sexual preference. Homosexuals were urged to “come out of the closet” and openly declare their sexual preference, instead of succumbing to shame. “Gay pride” marches took place in several large cities commemorating the Stonewall uprising. There have also been commemorations of gays who have been murdered by straights such as the San Francisco alderman Harvey Milk and a Wyoming teenager named Matthew Shepard that reinforce the idea of group victimhood.
In the 1980s, the gay community mobilized to fight the AIDS epidemic, arguing for more research and medical help. A more recent cause has been to oppose “Defense of Marriage” laws that define marriage as a relationship between a man and woman and instead legalize gay marriage. Minnesota recently enacted an “anti-bullying law”, aimed at protecting children with homosexual tendencies in schools. A person is appointed in each school to monitor bullying activities, especially in regard to sexual preference. Schools are required to train teachers about bullying, instruct children on such matters, and administer proper discipline. In essence, teachers are legally required to make schools more friendly to gay and lesbian students.
There are also politically less well-organized groups such as Asians, Hispanics, and native Americans that fit into this spectrum of diverse populations. Being minorities that often or occasionally feel alienated from the white majority, most vote for the Democratic Party. The Civil Rights model of political and social progress makes sense to them.
Taken as a whole, we have a continuum of victimized groups beginning with Jews over many centuries, continuing to American blacks in the 1960s, and then extending to women as a group, and to finally gays and lesbians, also known as the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) community, and others. All have undergone outbursts of political activity, directed against a residual majority population which, though undefined, would seem to be non-Jewish, straight, white males. The collection of groups in this political camp is sometimes called the “Rainbow Coalition”. The name implies a diverse population sharing power as opposed to dominance of a single group. By 2042, America’s traditional “majority” population will be eclipsed demographically by this emerging coalition.
Notably, members of the Rainbow Coalition continue to see themselves as social and political outsiders even though their members hold positions of power. Their story line includes a period of past oppression and current struggle, leading to ultimate victory over bigotry. America will eventually redeem itself in this way. And so this is the story of victimized groups, each in its own way becoming politically aggressive to defeat other groups of people who are their polar opposites: Jew vs. Gentile, black vs. white, women vs. men, gay vs. straight - in short, good vs. evil. It is the old Jewish story of David vs. Goliath or Moses confronting Pharaoh, given a new political twist.
There is mutual cooperation and support among the coalition groups because each adds legitimacy and strength to the other. Gays and lesbians, for instance, herald the black Civil Rights movement as the beginning of a just political struggle which will eventually embrace their cause. All are constituents of today’s Democratic Party, replacing its old alignment with poor people and union members. One might say that politically aggressive demographic groups with histories of victimhood are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party as it has been since the 1960s. Meanwhile, the evil, retrograde south has turned Republican.
The 2012 Presidential election confirms this analysis. Not only did President Obama win re-election, he did so on the basis of nurturing demographic divisions. This is ironic considering that Obama rose to political prominence by giving a speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston in which he proposed to end such divisions.
He said then: “There are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America.”
That was then. Now the situation is different. In the 2012 campaign for President, differing demographic identities were the decisive factor in its outcome:
President Obama received 93% of the African American vote and Governor Romney only 7%.
President Obama received 76% of the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered vote and Governor Romney only 24%.
President Obama received 72% of the Asian American vote and Governor Romney only 28%.
President Obama received 71% of the Hispanic vote and Governor Romney only 29%.
President Obama received 69% of the Jewish vote and Governor Romney only 31%.
On the other hand, Governor Romney received 59% of the total white vote and President Obama only 41% of this vote.
Males favored Romney with 52% of the vote and Obama with 45% of the vote. Female voters favored Obama by a 55% to 43% margin.
Married women actually favored Romney, giving him 53% of their votes compared with 46% for Obama. However, President Obama won decisively among unmarried women of all races - 68% to Governor Romney’s 30%.
Clearly, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation drove the election results rather than economics or any other factor. Mitt Romney’s multi-millionaire status and unwillingness to cut tax rates for the rich did not seem to hurt him among white voters although poor people are well represented within that demographic. Whites seemed to identify with him more as a fellow white whether for “racist” reasons or other sense of kinship. The same is true of Barack Obama: Blacks seemed to identify with him as a fellow black.
In conclusion, the Democrats are the party of the Rainbow Coalition; Republicans divide what is left. That is the unmistakable truth about what American politics has become.
There is a problem with this type of politics. First, if people vote on the basis of how they were born, reasoned argument has no place in election campaigns. You simply vote for or against a candidate, based on your own birth-determined characteristics. Barack Obama, a racially mixed person, is as close as they come to a demographically blended candidate, yet he has been a polarizing figure. This type of politics leads to a divided nation and ultimate ruin. Nothing can be done to advance one’s cause except to have more babies to join the pool of future voters.
A second problem is that a majority of “minorities” - meaning people who feel they do not belong to the larger community - creates a nation that does not believe in itself. Self-proclaimed minority status is a feeling of alienation from the mainstream society. For many blacks, American government represents the “white” power structure, so everything the government does wrong would be someone else’s fault. The same is true of gays and lesbians; they are alienated from a society that is predominantly straight. So who is there left to identify with that larger community if one’s personal posture and identity are formed in opposition to it? The community is poised to fall apart.
Demographic politics create an insidious situation in which people are presumed to think a certain way though individuals think differently. The outspoken representatives of Jews, blacks, women, or the GLBT community may not reflect the thinking of their particular groups any more than the outspoken segregationists of the old south reflected the thinking of all southern whites. Those members of a group who do not think in the prescribed way are under great pressure to conform; otherwise, they might be reviled as self-haters. They are coerced to toe a certain political line despite being born free to think in their own way.
If there are groups of people with hidden agendas in positions of influence and power, it pollutes the public discourse. Michael Barone’s comment about feminist thought police patrolling every news room could apply as well to members of other groups. There are Jews, blacks, Hispanics, and GLBT members patrolling news rooms as well. There are political cells based on demographic identity controlling how the news is presented to an unsuspecting public behind an institutional facade.
How does the public know a reporter’s or editor’s secret agenda? For blacks, one might know that person’s identity from skin color. For women, physical appearance would also be an obvious guide to gender identity. But for Jews or gays and lesbians? Does the reporter’s name or visual appearance reveal that this person is Jewish or gay and might slant the story a certain way?
I use Jews as an example because the Jewish community seems to have a monolithic attitude on subjects such as the Holocaust and anti-Semitism and, to a lesser extent, the state of Israel. It seems to believe that other peoples should have the same attitudes on those subjects, too. However, if I am Irish or Norwegian, why should I care about anti-Semitism? Why should I care about the state of Israel? Those are another people’s problem. My identity belongs to me.
In all honesty, Jews as individuals have been among the strongest and most effective critics of the “Holocaust industry”. Jews have also been fierce critics of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. It must be a difficult thing for Jews with no ax to grind to have to choose between what he or she individually believes and the Jewish party line. The same goes for members of other groups that have become politically aggressive. It must be difficult for blacks or gays to have to assume the burden of group victimhood. No one should be born into a particular set of beliefs. That is the problem with demographic politics.
Finally, let me make this observation regarding the politics of victimhood. I think that the black community’s unshakable belief in black victimhood - that historical legacy going back to the days of slavery and “Jim Crow” conditions in the south - has harmed blacks and others as well. Anyone who regards himself as a victim will tend to excuse his own behavior. If the “race” button can be pushed with impunity to avoid the consequences of bad behavior, a person will be encouraged to continue with the behavior. Others in the same group will then become stigmatized.
Blacks have higher rates of violent crime than whites. In my opinion, the universal preoccupation with white racism may account for much of this problem. Psychologically, the black criminal may think that others - i.e., racist white society - are doing or have done worse and therefore my misbehavior should be overlooked. If whites simply roll over when confronted with that type of argument, it only confirms its validity in the perpetrator’s mind.
The same is true of Jews and the Holocaust. Somehow the fact of the Holocaust is supposed to have created a huge moral debt owed Jews by other people. The Israeli government has perpetrated atrocities against Palestinians living under its control. It has greatly abused its relationship with the United States. When even as high-minded a person as former President Jimmy Carter is accused of anti-Semitism for pointing out the segregationist nature of Israeli society, it shows how far into their own Holocaust-driven fantasy of Jewish persecution some Jews are. This is not a healthy attitude. We must all try to live in peace with each other instead of harboring an eternal grudge.
The politics of group victimhood has led to a form of attempted thought control commonly known as “political correctness”. Despite Constitutional guarantees of free speech, people must be careful what they say lest they be condemned for bigotry. Slurs against any of the officially recognized victimized minorities will bring down the wrath of the entire society upon one’s head. The media seems perpetually to be looking for this type of situation to publicize.
Brendan Eich, cofounder of Mozilla Corporation, was fired as CEO of his own company when it was disclosed that he had contributed money to Proposition 8 which would have outlawed gay marriage in California. The actor and film maker, Mel Gibson, has been ostracized in Hollywood for making films offensive to gays (“Braveheart”) and to Jews (“The Passion of Christ”). Hardly a day goes by when some well-known figure is forced to apologize or resign from his place of employment for a remark, or even a carelessly chosen word, that has offended some politically aggressive minority group. That is not good.
The idea of victimhood is that someone else, and not you, was responsible for your misfortune. Your own fate is therefore in someone else’s hands. This is a self-indulgent attitude that leads to prolonged irresponsible behavior. Yes, some people do experience misfortune but the adult thing to do is not to dwell upon blaming others, even if the blame is justified, but instead take intelligent steps to repair the situation to the extent that is possible. No one is truly a victim unless he chooses to be. And if someone else claims to be a victim on the basis of group identity, you may suspect that this person is trying to create guilt feelings to get something for nothing from you.
Enough of this nasty type of politics. Let’s get on with building a better world.
to: against dualistic world view