We’re a little bit scared of our own shadow. And, sadly, we see ourselves as a people who can never understand one another. We’ve given up on the notion that we can cohere, even though the founders forged America by holding together people with deep differences.What in holy hell is she talking about? Those "deep differences" our founders held together were the ones between white land-owning males. Meanwhile, our black and brown neighbors were subjected to slavery and genocide while we claimed Manifest Destiny over the continent. Our founders showed precious little interest in cohering with folks who weren't just like them.
I'm pretty sure Maureen Dowd knows this history. But it is so typical of the role white privilege plays in our minds that a knowing of facts is not enough to challenge the conclusions we reach based on the myths we've come to believe.
Its all a reminder to me about why so much of white America (both conservative and liberal) are in the midst of a giant freak-out these days - especially those in the baby boomer age group. We were nurtured on the idea of an America that ruled the world after WWII and emerged believing that Ozzie and Harriet were the definition of life in America. Sure, we occasionally heard about the injustices black and brown people faced. And we watched our country struggle through the Civil Rights Movement, Viet Nam and Watergate. But the basic contract of white men in charge of America and America in charge of the world remained intact. That myth is now under assault and an awful lot of folks are losing their g-d minds about it.
In the end, what Dowd and so many others are depressed about is the death of normal.
America will soon belong to the men and women — white and black and Latino and Asian, Christian and Jew and Muslim and atheist, gay and straight — who can walk into a room and accept with real comfort the sensation that they are in a world of certain difference, that there are no real majorities, only pluralities and coalitions. The America in which it was otherwise is dying, thank god, and those who relied on entitlement and division to command power will either be obliged to accept the changes, or retreat to the gated communities from which they wish to wax nostalgic and brood on political irrelevance...R.I.P. normal. Its going to take the Maureen Dowd's of the world a while to adjust. In the meantime, a column like this is a perfect example of her waxing nostalgic and brooding on her own political irrelevance.
Hard times are still to come for all of us. Rear guard actions will be fought at every political crossroad. But make no mistake: Change is a motherfucker when you run from it...
We are all the other now, in some sense. Special interests? That term has no more meaning in the New America. We are all — all of us, every last American, even the whitest of white guys — special interests. And now, normal isn’t white or straight or Christian. There is no normal. That word, too, means less with every moment. And those who continue to argue for such retrograde notions as a political reality will become less germane and more ridiculous with every passing year.