The Most Important Election of our Lives (Snark Warning):
Of all the socio-economic classes into which one could divide the United States’ population, white males over the last generation, have done the most to self destruct. For example, for no other group, women, blacks, Latinos, homosexuals, can it be said that without exception as a class they have failed to achieve the economic, social and educational attainments of their parents. Women continue to outperform their mothers (as well as white men). Individual Blacks, despite the horrendous impact of youth unemployment and vociferous opposition from white males continue in fits and starts to leave the lowest paying labor intensive jobs their parents were relegated to and move into the professional and managerial classes. Latinos carry on fleeing the feudal rural and demeaning service jobs they had historically been assigned. Despite the crushing burden of the current economic crisis that has fallen heavily on them, they still are doing marginally better than their parents.
But not white males from the middle and lower classes especially in the mid-West and the South. They persist in their decline from the economic and social backbone of our nation to become hate-filled failures in life. And, if truth be known, they chose this path. Although there are several downward paths that they have chosen to follow, perhaps most importantly they chose to refuse to educate themselves, so that now they are even less equipped to survive in the modern world while women and immigrants and children of immigrants continue grow their dominance in enrollment in our colleges and universities. This group that has chosen to be left behind are the heart and soul of the modern conservative movement.
To hear it from these white males, based upon their internet posts and the rhetoric of their spokesmen, it is all because of the unfair advantages given over the years to these others. This is nonsense. At best these others were helped into a position where they could compete for jobs and for educational attainment. It was the job of the white males (like they demand of everyone else but themselves) to meet the competition by, for example studying harder and getting even better grades. But instead they complained and sought the solution the uncompetitive always seek, to use government to limit the competition by denying their competitors the ability to compete (After all isn’t that what tax breaks and industrial subsidies are all about).
Now do not get me wrong, I find things like forced busing for integration abhorrent since its negative impact fell almost exclusively on the working classes. Similarly the demand for governmantal actions that helped to weaken and perhaps destroy the labor movement, while leaving nations boardrooms to voluntarily accommodate social change appeared suspicious to me.
Nevertheless, the continued decline of this class cannot be attributed to these programs alone. For example white women have thrived while their male counterparts have not. That certainly cannot be blamed on Title IX, abortion or availability of contraception. Or could it? Perhaps this is one of the reasons for the almost unreasonable hate shown by the Republican Party towards women.
It is advantageous to the economic and political élite to attempt to harness the dissatisfaction and fear of this previously all-powerful group in order to achieve its goals. No matter what else you may consider them to be, this economic and political élite is not stupid. If they cannot win riding on the back of dissatisfaction of white males they will find another horse to ride in future elections. Most likely they will decide on appealing more to women and Latinos. If they do so I expect the assaults on woman’s privacy and issues regarding border security will recede from their prominent position in the Party’s platform.
I believe it possible that Mitt Romney could be the last white male presidential candidate to be put forth by the Republican Party for a long time. I guess that should Obama win reelection, the Republicans will field a woman and latino ticket for the 2016 presidential election to face the Democratic Party’s similar gender and ethnic ticket except that one of their standard bearers will also be black. (It should be noted, that the Romney campaign first toyed with a latinio and most recently floated the possibility of adding a black feamale to the ticket.)
Recently John Scalzi covered similar ground in his article Straight While Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is. While his essay is obviously better written, we take a slightly differenc point of view. He examines the benefits sociaty bestows on straight males. He writes:
“I’ve been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word “privilege,” to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon. It’s not that the word “privilege” is incorrect, it’s that it’s not their word. When confronted with “privilege,” they fiddle with the word itself, and haul out the dictionaries and find every possible way to talk about the word but not any of the things the word signifies.”*
I, on the other hand, speculate on the possibility this may be their last hurrah; unless they pull the whole thing down on all of us in a suicidal attempt to prevent anyone else falling heir to what they have obviously mismanaged.
*Jim Hines, added some facts to support Scalzi’s anology.
NOTE: I am a white male. True many years ago while growing up, as the child of immigrants from Southern Europe, I was not considered really “white.” (Nor were my Jewish friends and of course Puerto Ricans flooding into NY at the time. The latter had not yet graduated from “non-white” to “Spanish surnamed.”) At that time I was subject to the jokes of the then exclusive club of whiteness and maleness similar to what Latinos are subject to today; such as the ring our oily skin left around the bathtub.
- Math teachers demonstrate a bias toward white male students (eurekalert.org)
- Republicans miffed that groups they abuse won’t be voting for them (dailykos.com)
- Oppressed White Guys Blogging (delong.typepad.com)
- Essence Shifts White Male Managing Editor (theroot.com)
- Straight White Male, the game of life’s lowest difficulty setting (kottke.org)
- Republicans miffed that groups they abuse won’t be voting for them (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- Nugent Calls Founding Fathers Un-American, Wishes South Won Civil War (lezgetreal.com)
- “We’re White, We’re Male, and We Suck!” (takimag.com)
- It Is Easy to Be a Straight White Male (theroot.com)
- Life as a Video Game Called “Class”? (tor.com)
- What voting groups will decide the election? (politico.com)
- Lincoln Mitchell: The Increasingly Monolithic Republican Party (huffingtonpost.com)
- Why we need a black-brown political coalition now more than ever (thegrio.com)
- Romney 2012: It’s the End of the GOP as We Know It (inthesetimes.com)