Over the last couple of days I've been thinking about this alot. What would my advice be to them? And then my cynicism kicks in and I figure that its just not worth it...assuming there won't be any real movement on this front so why bother?
But then I think about how we're at a pivotal point in this country's history when it comes to race relations. Even the bigots are going to have to figure this one out at some point. The inevitability is staring them in the face...adapt or die. Their choice won't be obvious in the time frame of a few weeks - but over years. What an amazing time it is to be alive!
And so I'm going to share my thoughts - regardless of their insignificance in the overall scheme of things.
What we know is likely to happen is that the Republicans will make some empty gestures.
They'll have mariachi bands at Lincoln Day dinners. They'll shove every Latino state legislator they have out in front of the national cameras to make it look like they have more than five Latinos in the party.But they've been doing that kind of thing for awhile now. It hasn't worked before and it won't this time.
They might even find a Latino to be the next RNC chair. They're really good at that sort of thing. The new Miguel Steelio.
Now there's even some talk about Republicans being willing to change their position on a policy issue...immigration. But as Kevin Drum noted - that won't be enough.
Like it or not, conservatives are going to need a much more thorough housecleaning if they want to survive in an increasingly diverse future. No more gratuitous ethnic mockery. No more pretense that reverse racism is the real racism. No more suggestions that minorities just want a handout. No more screeching about the incipient threat of Sharia law. No more saturation coverage of the pathetic New Black Panthers. No more complaining that blacks get to use the N word but whites don't. No more summers of hate on Fox News. No more tolerance for Dinesh D'Souza and his "roots of Obama's rage" schtick; or for Glenn Beck saying Obama has a "deep-seated hatred of white people"; or for Rush Limbaugh claiming that "Obama's entire economic program is reparations." No more jeering at the mere concept of "diversity." And no more too-clever-by-half attempts to say all this stuff without really saying it, and then pretending to be shocked when you're called on it. Pretending might make you feel virtuous, but it doesn't fool anyone and it won't win you any new supporters.Yep...this stuff goes much deeper.
The way I've seen most people begin that process is to actually get close enough to some people who are different and listen to what they have to say. A good example is how having a lesbian daughter changed even Dick Cheney.
The kinds of steps these encounters tend to instigate are often painfully slow. I can look back on my journey and see small incremental steps...each one building on the last.
For example, back in the early 1980's I was pretty oblivious. I remember that I heard about something called racial profiling but didn't give it much credence. It had never happened to me or anyone I knew. At the time I was living in Southern California and one of my friends was native Hawaiian. But to an outside observer - he looked Mexican. One night I was at a party at his house and he began to tell the story of crossing the yard of his apartment building on his way home, getting stopped by the cops and brought to his front door for verification that he lived there. My friend was a comedian at heart and had us all laughing at the story when his wife interrupted stone faced with, "Maybe it was funny the first time. But not the 23rd." The laughter ended abruptly and for the first time I understood the reality of racial profiling.
That was a beginning point for me and there have been many like it in the intervening 30+ years. I am confident there are more to come.
That's the way it happens Republicans. There's no getting around it. Until you're willing to get close enough to listen, you'll keep wandering in the wilderness pissed off at your own irrelevance.
What excites my optimism is to imagine how this country changes when they finally figure that one out - even if it has to be the hard way.