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Change is a motherfucker when you run from it
November 8, 2012 5:18 PM   Subscribe

This election marks a moment in which the racial and social hierarchy of America is upended forever. No longer will it mean more politically to be a white male than to be anything else. Evolve, or don’t. Swallow your resentments, or don’t. But the votes are going to be counted, more of them with each election. Arizona will soon be in play. And in a few cycles, even Texas. And those wishing to hold national office in these United States will find it increasingly useless to argue for normal, to attempt to play one minority against each other, to turn pluralities against the feared “other” of gays, or blacks, or immigrants, or, incredibly in this election cycle, our very wives and lovers and daughters, fellow citizens who demand to control their own bodies.
David Simon, reflecting on the 2012 election
posted by Afroblanco (18 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This is a great essay but should go in one of the open election threads. The post-mortem one is going at a good clip. -- jessamyn



 
And I had such a nice run as a tall, straight, white male. Guess I'll have to learn some skills.
posted by slapshot57 at 5:24 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the gay thing is going to be interesting in the southwest. There's a lot of pro-union socially conservative latinos out there. Mind you, they're being out aged too, but maybe slower?

But it's a good article on the fascinating tipping point we're living in. I just don't think it's the end of dog-whistle politics.
posted by lumpenprole at 5:28 PM on November 8, 2012


Heh, it just struck me that Ginsberg is going to retire and maybe Breyer will retire and hopefully some other folks will decide that they would like a little more free time also
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:29 PM on November 8, 2012


A lot of folks are going to be walking back a lot of pronouncements come the 2014 midterm elections.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:30 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is unusually celebratory for David Simon. He seems to assume that a shift in demographics will guarantee a more liberal policy from the Democratic Party. Which sounds strange coming from the man who hates institutions so much that he had all The Wire's institutional characters swear constantly.

On preview, 2bucksplus catches my mood right now.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:31 PM on November 8, 2012


This article itself is not colorblind. The growth of groups is an arbritary measure. I still don't get how Latino is different to Italian? Race is a gradient of hues. This writer is essentially taking a race driven position, that he repeats in almost every paragraph and trying to attract attention.
Obama won because he is smarter and more sensible than Romney.
posted by niccolo at 5:34 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


No longer will it mean more politically to be a white male than to be anything else.

In terms of mass voting power, yes. I think we can look forward to a couple of decades more of white males dominating the financing of political races and controlling vast swaths of the national economy, and those cliques will fight to prevent the erosion of their own power and influence.

There's a lot of pro-union socially conservative latinos out there. Mind you, they're being out aged too, but maybe slower?

This is something that interests me, because David Simon mentions (glancingly, and with very rose-tinted glasses) the Irish-German-Italian immigrant base of the New Deal coalition. The fact is that once these groups were brought into the mainstream "American" identity, they proved in many cases all too willing to turn around and put their boot in the face of African-Americans, Jews (especially before 1945), and newer minority movements in mid-century. You can see something similar during the first waves of state-level democratization in post-Revolutionary War America (the extension of the franchise, elimination of property bars to voting), in which white male sufferage extension went hand-in-glove and often precipitated the removal of voting rights for free blacks and women where the latter had previously had it.

Will the mainstreaming of Hispanics, for example, liberalize of the Democratic Party/the United States as a whole, or will this new supermajority become more hostile to other minorities since it will now self-define as part of a newly constituted status quo majority? I'd like to think the former, but historically a case can be made that the latter is more likely. Still, it is progress. The circle gets wider, and more inclusive, and in the end that weakens the arguments used to keep whoever still remains outside it from being brought in from the cold.
posted by AdamCSnider at 5:37 PM on November 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's an election. One. It so happens I'm mostly happy with the result, but it's silly to think the pendulum of history will stop swinging or suddenly change direction because of it. Hate will still exist, fear will still exist, and there will still be those who make hay from both.

If we're lucky, we'll know those people when we see them. We don't always.
posted by Mooski at 5:39 PM on November 8, 2012


No longer will it mean more politically to be a white male than to be anything else.

I assume this person is partaking of his newfound Coloradan freedoms?

Women have had half the vote for close to a century now. Let's see how that's working out for them, shall we?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:40 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I still don't get how Latino is different to Italian?

It's a matter of context.

When the conservative groups are making a huge issue out of deporting and racially profiling Italians and screaming about Italian anchor babies and passing laws designed to make life uncomfortable for Italians, then we'll talk.

Sincerely,
Someone who has had to put up with the batshit insanity in Arizona for the last decade.
posted by azpenguin at 5:46 PM on November 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Behold the New Jerusalem.

Boo-yah!
posted by squalor at 5:46 PM on November 8, 2012


I still don't get how Latino is different to Italian?

Italians are not the fastest growing ethnic group in America, nor are they one of the deciding factors in the two most recent Presidential elections.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:49 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


they proved in many cases all too willing to turn around and put their boot in the face of
I vaguely remember the 2008 elections being one where African Americans came out in droves... only to deny rights to the LGBT communities.

I know they say that bigotry and xenophobia are things that are taught... but it's just downright scary to see the mental gymnastics that societal homosapiens put into play every time there's a new form of 'us versus them'.

You can go as far back as you want; Greeks and Romans, Picts and Celts, whomever the two groups were in Clan of the Cave Bear. But throughout it all... it's almost always been separating people out into different groups. And if anything our version of civilization has taught us... it's that separate is not equal.

But still we separate.
posted by Blue_Villain at 5:49 PM on November 8, 2012


Obama thanks his team (something-in-your-eye warning)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:56 PM on November 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


I still don't get how Latino is different to Italian?

Italians are not the fastest growing ethnic group in America, nor are they one of the deciding factors in the two most recent Presidential elections.


Also, Italy is in Europe. They make really good pasta.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:59 PM on November 8, 2012


Women have had half the vote for close to a century now. Let's see how that's working out for them, shall we?

Female Senators, 1900: 0
Female Senators, 1950: 1
Female Senators, 2000: 8
Incoming Female Senators, 2013: 19

Pretty good progress recently. And, extrapolating from these numbers, there will be 487 female senators by the year 2063.
posted by gwint at 6:00 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guess I'll have to learn some skills.

I'd start with the following: nun-chuck skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills...
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 6:01 PM on November 8, 2012


Against all odds, I was massively happy with the results of this election, and Mr. Simon hits on some of the reasons why. I think we took a real step forward as a people, towards a more perfect Union, and towards living out the vision of the Founders. (A vision which they and we have always failed at to one degree or another, but only because it was and is such an amazingly idealistic set of ideas.)

Presidents and charismatic leaders can and will disappoint. I will absolutely not share or praise a video of the crying of a man who just this morning ordered a drone strike in Yemen that probably killed innocent women and children. I just won't do it.

But a President is temporary. Real social change can be permanent, if we keep working.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:03 PM on November 8, 2012


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