Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, about anyone drawing a paycheck from Rupert Murdock, and most of those who make their living from talk radio seem convinced white Americans are now the minority. Well, if they’re not, they will be in but a few more decades. Just take a trip to the coast or to any border state and you’ll soon realize that the face of America is changing. The sidewalks of New York are no longer filled with white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestants. America is becoming darker and this simply scares the bejesus out of conservative right-wing xenophobes.
But while the face of America is changing the politics may not be keeping up. America has been, and remains, a basically conservative nation. A 2010 Gallup/USA Today poll revealed that 42% of those surveyed identify themselves as conservative, 35% as moderate, while 20% identify as liberal. In another 2010 poll, 40% of American voters identify themselves as conservatives, 36% as moderates and 22% as liberals, with a strong majority of both liberals and conservatives describing themselves as closer to the center than to the extremes.
While these figures may not be too comforting for the xenophobic crowd I take comfort in them. First of all, I’m not bothered by the thought that our national complexion or our culture is and will continue to change. That has been happening since the first white Europeans set foot on Plymouth Rock and as transportation and communications continue to improve the change will simply occur quicker.
Secondly I relish in the great diversity that is America. Many of the things I love most about America is the huge variety of cultures that coexist here and enrich the lives of us all. Try to imagine an America without the influences of Africans, Central and South Americans, the Caribbean, Asians, Southern Europeans, etc. No tacos, no pizza, no General Tso’s Chicken, no blues, no jazz, no rock ‘n roll; it would be meat and potatoes hell.
Finally, I take comfort in the poll results because they tell me that the larger majority of Americans are in the middle. I am not an independent, I am a liberal Democrat partisan. But, I am one of those who identifies themselves as being much closer to the center than to the extreme of the liberal spectrum. Most of my Republican friends would say the same about themselves and their degree of conservatism.
This means that the majority of Americans are not extreme they are comfortably moderate and represent a threat to no one other than those on either extreme who seem to fear even their own shadow.
So, in spite of the clamouring of the Becks and Limbaughs America’s politics really aren’t going anywhere. The president we had, the president we have, and the president we will have will be chosen by mostly moderate people who are not tolerant or attracted to extremes. They are simply a broad spectrum of citizens who want their representatives to pay attention to them, work on our problems, and help make sure they get a fair shake.
The mouthpieces of the airways and blogosphere will continue spewing to their audience and their audience will continue buying their t-shirts, pamphlets, and books making the mouthpieces that much more wealthy. Together they will live in the fear that is the constant companion of their paranoia.