David Brooks Tries On Steve King's Hood, But Like *Moderately* And Whatnot
David Brooks, member of the Mediocre White Men Society (his uncle was on the board), is concerned that America is becoming a chocolate city. Brooks scribbled out his scary thoughts in yesterday's New York Times.
Here's the central challenge of our age: Over the next few decades, America will become a majority-minority country. It is hard to think of other major nations, down through history, that have managed such a transition and still held together.
Let's "kick the ballistics" here: "Majority-minority country" is a white supremacist concept. How are the current minorities still "minorities" if we suddenly outnumber what was once the "majority"? I remember an interview with Steven Tyler back in 1998 when he described himself as an "18 year old with 32 years experience!" This is a similarly pathetic denial of reality and the ongoing march of time except also really racist.
"Minority," of course, refers to more than a group's number but also its political clout. Women outnumber men in America but they are a political minority. White men like Brooks are terrified that they will become a political minority. They've demonstrated in Apartheid South Africa or parts of the antebellum South that they can manage perfectly fine as a literal minority so long as they control everything.
Paul Ryan and other conservatives have denounced "identity politics" for years now. Ben Shapiro didn't even like that black people were excited about Black Panther because the film had "black" in its title and featured lots of black people. "Wakanda Forever!" is why Trump won. No, all the mythical "good" conservatives insist that racial harmony can only exist if we refuse to acknowledge racial differences. As Stephen Colbert might've said on his old Comedy Central show: "I don't see race. I only know I'm white because no one hassles me when I go to my country club." We aren't separate races or cultures, despite what your local Little Italy might lead you to believe. We're all one uniform America and that uniform is a freshly laundered white.
Brooks laughably says that Donald Trump had "a chance to build a pan-ethnic nationalist coalition but went with white identity politics instead." What chance was that? When racists literally elected him because he openly promoted white identity politics? This is like suggesting an adult film crew had a "chance" to produce a light opera dramatizing the life of John the Baptist but instead went with what was behind door number "blowjob."
What's infuriating is that Brooks doubles down on the libel that Democrats offer no "vision" to counter Trump's white nationalism. Hillary Clinton's campaign slogan was "Stronger Together." That was even the closing message of her 2016 Democratic National Convention speech. Is the call for national unity somehow less inspiring if we're uniting behind an icky girl?
Yeah, I get it. No one listened to Hillary. She's the Jor-El of electoral politics. But Brooks didn't just ignore her in 2016. He's plugged his ears and shouted "la-la-la" over every compelling Democrat to emerge in the past couple years.
But if the Democrats are going to lead this transition, they'll need not just a mind-set that celebrates diversity, but also a mind-set that creates unity. They'll need policies that integrate different groups into a coherent nation, with shared projects, a common language and culture and clear borders.
I know the popular conservative narrative right now is that Democrats have offered nothing but an around-the-clock anti-Trump message. The reality, though, is that Democrats have remained amazingly upbeat given that America is currently led by a wannabe fascist. My new favorite person Stacey Abrams stated recently that "regardless of where we live, we share a common belief that Georgia can be more, do more... for all of us."
And down in Florida, Andrew Gillum will make you cry like an episode of "This Is Us."
Maybe Brooks can't speak black person or woman of any race -- it all just sounds to him like Charlie Brown's teacher. But, c'mon, we've got Beto O'Rourke in the house. The Texas Senate candidate went viral in his moving effort to unite the opposing sides of the contentious issue of whether NFL players have First Amendment rights.
David Brooks either isn't paying attention or he defines "nationalism" and "unity" as a more presentable form of white supremacy. What he wants from Democrats is for them to hold his hand and prioritize his innumerable fears as we move forward. But no one has time for that or for Brooks.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."