A Plague Infecting White America

Much of white America, especially white male America, is suffering from delusion (Disclosure: I’m a white American man). Too many in my demographic have debased themselves through thoughtless xenophobia, callous sexism, knee-jerk bigotry, and angry cynicism. During the 2016 election, 62% of white males and 52% of white females knowingly cast their vote for a racist demagogue who admitted to being a sexual predator, publicly denigrated POWs and gold star families, mocked the disabled, made fun of overweight women, and embraced white supremacy. That same demagogue’s approval rating is still sky-high among white men.

White America, especially white “Christian” America, jumped the shark when most of us cast our lots for an admitted sexual predator, coarse bully, and willful ignoramus. We’ve embraced white nationalist tribalism over timeless American values of life, liberty, and equality for all. The hypocrisy of white Evangelical Christians giving a serial adulterer and admitted sexual predator a “mulligan” for his indiscretions, embracing a purely amoral Machiavellian relationship with a fascist tyrant, is something their churches should never recover from.

Our culture suffers from a toxic masculinity. Instead of measuring ‘manliness’ by the size of our pickup truck and gun arsenal, or how often we make fun of women, environmentalists, gays, and immigrants, I long for a day when my demographic measures their worth in nuanced intellect, compassion, and support for equality. If America is to truly become great again, white America must renounce tribalism and white nationalism. We must embrace the true American identity, which is heterogenous and plural, while at the same time recognize that as a country, united we stand by divided we fall.

Many white Americans are guilty of deep hypocrisy when they claimed that President Barack Obama won the ‘black vote’ because of his skin color. These whites proceeded to project their own tribalism via their blind embrace of Trump, birtherism, and rejection of an objectively successful Obama Presidency. When a culture or tribe rejects science, statesmanship, and smart diplomacy, and adopts crackpot conspiracy theorists like Sean Hannity and Alex Jones as their primary source of information and inspiration, you know that culture is hopelessly corrupted. I observed this phenomenon in my handyman uncle, who insisted with absolute certainty to my father, a professor of geochemistry and geology at Cornell University, that climate change is a hoax. I witnessed this phenomenon in my aunt when she announced she despised Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) simply because he was close friends with the late Senator Ted Kennedy, a Democrat.

White America needs to look to the examples of real heroes, not Fox News demagogues and fascists, for inspiration and direction. Biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Martin Luther King Jr., Pope Francis, Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, and Rosa Parks, are a good place to start. It is incredibly troubling to see the liberties that so many brave American service members have fought for, undermined by my own demographic. We are better than this.

(This post was adapted from a @MindfulMajority thread.)

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