You have to ask yourself what is the root of this anxiety/fear Noonan is talking about in all her unctuousness. Paul Krugman nailed it when he said that the reality of life in America is that its safer than its been in decades. So where is the fear coming from?
About the same time this discussion was happening, Colin Powell was answering that question.
America is changing. The "majority" will soon be a "minority." And not only that...the leader of the free world is an African American.
I have long thought that we are passing through a milestone in this country's long march towards "perfecting our union." History might not judge it as significant as the Civil War or the Civil Rights Movement, but it represents a critical stage in our development. A black man is no longer simply leading African Americans, he's leading the country. Moving from a stage where white people "granted" African Americans their freedom from slavery or their civil rights, we now in an era where white people are required to look black people in the eye with respect and equality - even be led by one. That's not going down real well for some folks.
Yesterday I ran across one of the most vile things I've ever seen on the internet. Its a Facebook page titled Christians Against Obama's Re-election (click through at your own risk). Sure its filled with all kinds of racist pot-shots at the President of the United States. But the main content appears to be anti-immigrant and pro-gun. This is from people who want to call themselves "Christian."
That's what the beast looks like in its death throes, folks.
I don't for a minute think that people like that represent the majority of this country. As a matter of fact, I think they're even a smaller group than the one faced by Martin Luther King, Jr. As Ta-Nehisi Coates suggested, MLK stood his ground at the time - just as President Obama is doing today - with a kind of "good crazy."
Here is where Barack Obama and the civil rights leaders of old are joined -- in a shocking, almost certifiable faith in humanity, something that subsequent generations lost. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. may have led African Americans out of segregation, and he may have cured incalculable numbers of white racists, but more than all that, he believed that the lion's share of the population of this country would not support the rights of thugs to pummel people who just wanted to cross a bridge. King believed in white people, and when I was a younger, more callow man, that belief made me suck my teeth. I saw it as weakness and cowardice, a lack of faith in his own. But it was the opposite. King's belief in white people was the ultimate show of strength: He was willing to give his life on a bet that they were no different from the people who lived next door.As our history shows us, this small group of fearful racists can do a lot of damage. We're seeing some of that unfold as the President begins to discuss a very courageous agenda on gun control today. So what should our response be to all of that? To have his back like we've never done before and to continue to believe in "good crazy."