Saturday, March 1, 2008

Why does anyone listen to Pat Buchanan anymore?

Heck, does anybody listen to Pat Buchanan anymore? I mean, aside from Bill O'Reilly.

Buchanan's latest defense of the poor, oppressed white man:
[TUCKER] CARLSON: I have it right here. He was at Georgetown. This is from The Georgetown Voice. "[Howard] Dean contrasted the two party's presidential candidates. He said that with a woman and an African-American as the two front-runners, the Democratic field, quote, 'looks like America, while the all-white male Republican field looks like the 1950s and talks like the 1850s.' " I must say, I'm not going to sit by a single more time and listen to someone slag on, quote, "white men."

BUCHANAN: You know, I am off --

CARLSON: Television hosts do that. It makes me want to puke.

BUCHANAN: I am offended by this. Look, what did white males do? OK, they were the only guys signing the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, all the dead at Gettysburg, all the dead at Normandy. Why is it, Bill --

If the devil's greatest trick was convincing the world he didn't exist, then white men's greatest trick was to convince themselves that other people don't exist. Buchanan objects to this obvious statement by Dean because, to him, America is solely white men--he doesn't care about anyone else. Anyone else isn't really American. I recently checked out Martin Luther King's last book before his death, Where Do We Go From Here?: Chaos or Community. Here's a sample of what he had to say about this:
The history books, which have almost completely ignored the contribution of the Negro in American history, have only served to intensify the Negroes' sense of worthlessness and to augment the anachronistic doctrine of white supremacy.


The tendency to ignore the Negro's contribution to American life and strip him of his personhood is as old as the earliest history books and as contemporary as this morning's newspaper.

And of course it continues even today. As the Media Matters article explains, white men were not the only casualties at Gettysburg, nor at Normandy. Blacks too served in the army during the Civil War, and World War II... as well as all the other wars that the United States has been involved in. Hell, one of the first casualties in the Revolutionary War that Buchanan's precious Declaration of Independence sparked was Crispus Attucks, who was part African American and part Native American.

It is true that only white men wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. You can probably tell because the former includes this grievance:
[King George III] has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

You can bet that they didn't bother talking to any "merciless Indian Savages" when they wrote that paragraph. And of course the Constitution let only white people be citizens, it didn't guarantee women the right to vote, and it treated blacks as three-fifths of a person. Some other people aren't too pleased with this fact. Because of the racist, misogynist origins of our constitution, Joe Feagin proposed in Racist America: Roots, Current Realities and Reparations that we draft a new one based on the input and concerns of all Americans (I might add that I don't necessarily agree with this idea):
In 1787 fifty-five white men met in Philadelphia and wrote a Constitution for what was seen as the first democratic nation. They met at the end of a long revolutionary struggle and articulated their perspective using strong language about human equality and freedom. However, they had a very restricted view of those grand ideas. As we saw in chapter 1, this Constitutional Convention did not include white women, African Americans, or Native Americans, who collectively made up a majority of the population. Nor did it include representation for white men with little or no property. The representatives of less than 10 percent of the population framed a new constitution that has governed with some amendments, the Unitd States since the late eighteenth century. The document created by these propertied white men reflected their racial, class, and gender interests. While some of these interests encompassed the desires of all Americans to be free of the tyrannies of Europe -- such as the constitutional prohibition of aristocratic titles and of a state religion -- it took strong protests in the colonies before a Bill of Rights was added.


As I see it, it is time to have yet another constitutional convention, one that represents all Americans. The base of the U.S. system must be replaced if systemic racism is to be removed, just as the sinking foundation of a dilapidated building must be replaced. A new convention is required not only to address restitution and rights for oppressed groups but also to ensure that the governing document of the new multiracial democracy is produced by representatives of all the people. The egalitarian and democratic ideas associated with the Bill of Rights and U.S. civil rights laws could well be points for important discussion at this new convention.

Buchanan, however, is just fine with the knowledge that it was only (rich) white men who drafted the Constitution. In fact, he celebrates the fact that a privileged minority was able to create a country where they could rule over everyone. That's the model on which he runs.

Of course, Buchanan's insistence that white men were the ones who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States necessarily glosses over a crucial point. The way he frames it, it sounds as though white men took up this burden because no-one else could be bothered to, or perhaps because they were incapable of doing so. The fact that white men did this without anyone else is a testament to white men and an implicit attack on everyone else.

Missing from Buchanan's spirited defense of white male power is the fact that white men drafted these documents on their own not because of any deficiency on the part of African Americans, Native Americans, or white women, but because white men specifically excluded these groups. This is a practice that Buchanan wishes to continue, whose demise he scorns, and whose opponents he attacks as "self-hating white folks." He rhetorically asks,
I would remind you, every single president has been a white male. Is that something wrong with America?

The answer is an emphatic yes. Your fan Bill O'Reilly put it well:
America is run primarily by white, Christian men, and there is a segment of our population who hates that, despises that power structure.

For once, O'Reilly spoke the truth. I hate that white, Christian men hold nearly all the power in this country to the exclusion of women, of atheists, of African Americans and Asian Americans. I deeply desire for that to change so that our ruling class better represents our entire population--but that would require people like him and Buchanan to give up their cushy seats, so of course they're opposed to it.

And as a final note, did anyone else notice that Buchanan's objection completely confirmed Dean's observation? He longs for the days of World War II or the Civil War (circa 1950s and 1850s, as Dean noted), when white men were the only military heroes because black casualties were ignored; he pines for the days of the founding of American, when white men could write the law of the land without having to bother thinking about, much less collaborating with, other people.

And of course, now that Buchanan might have to deal with a woman or a Negro, he's obviously tetchy.


Ivan Ivanovich Renko said...

Absolutely spot on.

Of course, both Bow-Tie-Boy and Bastard Buchannan are conservatives, and proud of it.

Conservatism being the ideology of white supremacy, of course they're a mite tetchy.

May their heads explode from the experience.

Skemono said...

Absolutely spot on.
Why thank you.

Conservatism being the ideology of white supremacy
Now hold on there, that's not fair. There are plenty of conservatives who aren't racist, and I'm sure plenty of liberals who are. White supremacy itself is the ideology of white supremacy.