Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Maybe We’re Afraid Hispanic Immigrants Will Treat Us The Way We Treated Native Americans & Others

I’ve been reading A Different Mirror—A History Of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki.

This book is an account of the different races and ethnic groups that have lived in America.

In detaling grievous British abuse of the Irish in the 15th and 16th centuries, portrayed in Different Mirror as a precursor for the mistreatment of blacks and native Americans by British colonists , Takaki uses the following poem from the period written by Angus O’Daly

O body which I see without a head,

It is the sight of thee which has withered up my strength.

Divided and impaled in Ath-cliath,

The learned of Banba will feel its loss.

Who will relive the wants of the poor?

Who will bestow cattle on the learned?

O body, since thou are without a head,

It is not life we care to choose after thee.

Takaki also uses the following quote from a Sioux tribesman named Luther Standing Bear—

The white man does not understand the Indian for the same reason he does not understand America…Continuing to troubled with primitive fears (he has) in his consciousness the perils of this frontier continent…The man from Europe is still a foreigner and an alien. And he still hates the man who questioned his path across the continent.”

Maybe the hostility some feel towards rising numbers of immigrants in the United States, reflects an awareness of the brutality of our forefathers. We know what we did to conquer the United States and we know that this violence has a history that goes back even before the settlement of the Americas.

Maybe what some are afraid of is being treated the same way.

Or maybe the fear is  we will somehow over the years be erased from the collective memory, just as was attempted with Native Americans.

In any case, many new people are coming to the United States. Nothing is going to stop that process.

We can find ways to live with these new folks. Or we can operate from fear and anger.

The choice is ours collectively. 

January 16, 2008 Posted by | Books, History, Immigration, Poetry | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Republicans Won After Civil War Was Over—Can Modern Republicans Win Without 9/11?

  

I recently read the following in Congressional Quarterly’s Guide To U.S. Elections. It is about the 1868 election of Republican Ulysses Grant over Democrat Horatio Seymour of New York–  

With Grant’s ascension to the presidency in 1869, the Republican Party entered a new era—what the German sociologist Max Weber would have called a shift from “charismatic” to “rational” institutional authority. In other words, the party shifted its devotion from a great moral cause to its own survival as an organization. It had begun as a coalition of activists fervently opposed to the expansion of slavery (many opposed slavery itself) and to the rebellion of Southern states from the Union, The Republicans 1868 victory under Grant was the first not dominated wholly by crisis conditions. 

Reading this got me thinking about Republican success in the elections of 2002 and 2004. Those elections, especially 2002 when Republicans won back the Senate, seemed to be run under the shadow of the events of September 11, 2001.  

In 2006, with 9/11 five years past and the War in Iraq going badly, Democrats made strong gains in both Houses of Congress. The crisis atmosphere from 9/11 was gone and with it , so it appears, was the Republican advantage President Bush gained after the attacks.    

President Grant won reelection in 1872 and Republicans held the electoral upper-hand for much of time until the Great Depression. Republicans had the electoral base to withstand the passing of the crisis.

While it’s early in this campaign season and a national security type issue –either real or contrived by the Bush administration—might help Republicans, the 2006 election, and the early indicators for 2008, suggest that Republicans may struggle for a time without the ability to run on 9/11.

January 16, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Elections, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments