Thursday, January 09, 2020
Over the years I've come to realize that race is at the heart of all things American, and teaching Constitutional Law has only underlined it. As I view our present scene I am impressed by how thoroughly blind to this reality our media is. The present narrative about President Trump is that his base elected him out of "economic anxiety" and that's so hilariously wrong that it almost seems like a conspiracy. The difficulty is that it is not easy to tell someone that they are a racist. Unless someone is an avowed Nazi the accusation is deeply insulting, no matter how true- and it is always true. So what can we do about it, if we can't even be honest enough about it to admit it? I confess that I do not know. I know that this has been thinking about this for a while- I started drafting this note by going back and searching Outside Counsel for a Robert Christgau quote: "There really is a crisis of meaning in this culture, especially for white males who regret at whatever level of conscious intellection their complicity in an ideology of domination they're at least half ashamed of." One way that 2020 seems different from 2005, is that there seem to be a lot more people who will admit to their bigotry, and do so with appalling pride. Those people are lost to us, of course, and always have been, but at least now we know for sure who they are. The question that remains is how many of them there are, and whether there is enough of the aspirational United States to be worth saving.