Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Endangered: the Dead White Male

More on the dire straits of the white folks.

Many powerful historical movements experience what one might call “The Wile E. Coyote Moment”. That dreadful moment when the coyote runs off the cliff, and hangs in the air, in open defiance of the laws of physics. And then he realizes that he is about to fall 1000 feet to yet another physics-defying nonfatal smack! Into the desert floor.

The day the imperial rulers realize that the empire…isn’t there anymore.

Oh, no!

The ancient Romans of the fifth century had been in decline for at least a century, but they retained the illusion of imperial power. Then the German tribes marched in, destroyed their government, and took over. And still the Romans didn’t get the message: they maintained faux “empires” in Greece and Germany until uncouth barbarians, Turks in the former case, Napoleon in the latter, crushed them again and again. It took a thousand years for the illusion to wear off.

The Soviet Union was an economic disaster from the start, but they retained the illusion of empire, even into the 1980s when they could scarcely feed themselves or tackle a stone-age country like Afghanistan, even through the collapse of the Soviet Union, even through their embarrassing attempt to horn in on the Yugoslavia crisis, even after losing the first war in tiny Grozny, Chechnya, which is the geopolitical equivalent of getting beat up by the Seven Dwarves. Even now, empire gone, they are still starting pissy little fights with Transdniestria (and if you claim you’ve even heard of it you’re lying), and in two booger-sized enclaves in Georgia, and occasionally using their oil wealth to bully Eastern Europe, or turn out the lights in Estonia in a fit of pique over an old statue (true story and an incredibly stupid issue). They are still clinging to the illusion of power, by bullying progressively smaller targets.

France hasn’t been a major power for centuries, but somehow they didn’t get the memo: as far as they are concerned, they were the victors in two world wars, and built nuclear weapons of their own in a fit of national-scale penis envy. And they still have the illusion of power, in part because they still have a seat on the UN Security Council (yet another entity that is in its 14th minute and doesn’t know it).

The British nobility reached its zenith of power in the fourteenth century, building on the follies of weak and evil kings like John and Henry VI. Then they slaughtered each other in the Wars of the roses and were brought to heel by stronger leaders like Henry VIII and Cromwell. They finally lost almost all power in a fight with William IV over the Reform Bill of 1831 and then in two Parliament Acts in 1911 and 1949. But the real leaders let them keep the illusion of power in the House of Lords, where they slumber to this day.

The Brits themselves retained their illusion of imperial power even after losing America. Then FDR came along, drained their national finances dry in the early days of WWII, forced them to live like paupers until the late 1950s, and strongly impelled them to give up their empire (with an assist from Gandhi). But again many of their former colonies have allowed them the illusion of power by means of the Commonwealth system.

America’s day could be coming. Our economic might is waning, Bush has prostituted our moral standing and our status as the citadel of freedom and justice, and our military excels in the kinds of wars we fought…in the last century. Wall Street and Detroit dominated the nation and the world; now they beg for handouts and watch foreigners get rich doing what they used to do. Dictators and crooked politicians quaked in fear of our reporters from our newspapers and the networks; now the traditional media is going broke, drowned out by competitors on cable and on the net, and no one fears them anymore. One sector after another, our greatness is aging, rapidly and badly, like a Hollywood starlet.

And America is fading because the central pillar of America power refuses to face the fact that a new century has begun, and we must change if we hope to lead in that century. That central pillar of power is, of course, white American power. The fat white crooks who have been robbing us blind and shortening our lives in Big Tobacco, Big Oil, the insurers, the drugmakers, Wall Street are still clinging to a world that has “gone with the wind”, just as America’s racists are clinging to the world as it was before 1865.

But now America is seeing that the path away from our current troubles and toward a prosperous future is not through the Dead White Male establishment, but around them. We know that we can’t get out of the swamp by going backward into the swamp again. The part of America that is not living in the stone age realizes that America wins when it hears from all its voices, which is why Obama is in the White House, Pelosi is in the Speaker’s chair, and Sotomayor is on the Supreme Court. But the swamp lizards of the right see all that dark skin coming at them, and they know that soon the Dead White Male will be a minority.

Thus, the Tea Parties. They are the fat useless Roman matron wailing as the Goths knock down her door and grab her roast pig to feed their families with. They are the fat useless former KGB officer forced to stand in line for bread like everyone else. They are the gaseous old French and British noblemen dashing their teacups into the fireplace in fury, as working-class prime ministers set to work undoing all they built and cleaning up their messes. And they are the white corporate whores who have been stealing our money for fifty years, and the white trash rednecks who beat their blacks by day and beat their women by night, who know their day of reckoning is coming. Because it is the aforementioned whores who are writing the checks that make the tea parties happen.

The Dead White Males destroyed the country during the Bush era. The new team is making great strides in cleaning up the mess. And the Dead White Males are terrified. They are screeching “Back to the swamp! Back to the swamp!” but the rest of the country isn’t listening, no matter how loud they get.

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