In the tumult of the 2016 campaign, three events stand out:
- The Colin Kaepernick scandal, in which K’s refusal to stand during the national anthem, threatens further to rouse the (already) “hot-tempered” black population; and
- Ex-President Bill Clinton’s accusation that to claim that America would be “great” again is an obvious Trumpian sop to (poor white) Southerners who value their (dubious) superiority on the racial “totem pole.” (Recall that “the first black president” implicitly hitched onto the black power movement, as did his wife, as did Barack Obama, the real first black president., though Black Lives Matter might dispute this genealogy; see http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/08/opinions/bill-clinton-black-lives-matter-protesters-opinion-garza/ ); and
- Mrs. Clinton’s characterization of half of Trump’s base as “a basket of deplorables” after all, she is an (aristocratic) centrist who would never stoop so low.
Sadly, supposedly Republican-leaning media (i.e., Fox News Channel) cannot address the ideologies represented by these widely publicized events, for the moderate men don’t dig deeply enough into dominant discourses, that are always collectivist.
That is, “America” is a single individual, disgraceful or exemplary, depending on “point of view.” (See https://clarespark.com/2014/07/20/national-character-does-it-exist/). To those devoted to the welfare state, “America” overcame its racist pass by devotion to “those less fortunate than we,” as Eleanor Roosevelt said. Centrists such as the Clintons are social democrats, with a whiff of fascism in their preoccupation with “race” over “class.”
Even Ashley Montagu, that progressive anthropologist, despite his obvious flaws, emphasized the socially constructed notion of “race,” focusing on social conditions over hereditary notions of mental and moral character (“race”); see https://clarespark.com/2016/08/13/there-and-not-there-progressives-make-us-crazy-2/.
There is an obvious choice on how we envision “the American Past, a.k.a., the “American Heritage.” We can focus on the novelty in the 18th C. of The Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution (especially the Amendments), or we can vent our adolescent wrath on westward expansion and its many crimes.
The “New Left” (unlike many of their elders in the Old Left) chose the latter path, and we are muddled in that confusion.
The Clintons and Colin Kaepernick belong in that “basket.”