(NNPA)–All the talk about how “minorities” were successful in getting Barack Obama re-elected should give us pause to reflect on just how this nation got to this point. Listening to the grieving Romney supporters and the shock they were experiencing (and probably still experiencing) brought with it the realization that the 2012 election is a result of things that took place hundreds of years ago.
When this country decided to create its wealth by using free slave labor and then exacerbating the situation with Black Codes, Jim Crow laws, segregation, lynching, and disparate treatment of Black people, indigenous people, Chinese people, and other so-called minorities, it put itself on a path that inevitably would prove to be antithetical to its stated mission.
The Laws of the Harvest: We will reap what we sow; we will reap more than we sow; and we will reap after we sow. This nation sowed seeds of racism, discrimination, and subordination of entire groups of people. Because of its power to take, to use, to discriminate, and to exact punishment, our country unwittingly set itself up for what we see today: The collective power of so-called “minorities” to determine the outcome of national elections.
This nation of immigrants has demographically evolved and is continuing to move toward what many are calling a “minority majority.” As oxymoronic as that term is, the reality is that folks who have been subordinated and mistreated for centuries are growing in numbers and will, in a couple of decades, outnumber what is now the collective White majority. Pat Buchanan warned about demographic and cultural changes, and power shifts among ethnic groups in his book, The Death of the West.
While I do not subscribe to Buchanan’s reasoning, I believe much of the remorse we saw and heard on the “morning after” emanated from persons who received their wake-up call regarding the true face of America – what it was and has become. Some call it the “Browning of America.” Mix politics with that reality and you get paranoia among the elected and the electorate.
Sow seeds of discontent and discontentment will grow. Sow “majority rule” and reap likewise. The yield will be greater and will come after the sowing, which may be hundreds of years later, but it will surely come. We have come full circle in the U.S. What was sown long ago is ready for harvesting: some good, some bad. That harvest is reflected in our political environment and discourse and in the minds of some who fear the next four years.
So, as Rush Limbaugh noted after the election, “We’re outnumbered!” As newspaper headlines announced, “Minorities won [the election] for Obama.” As one Republican County Commissioner cited, “We got drilled in the non-white population.”
On the “morning after,” some Republicans began rethinking their strategy to win elections. They finally realized that neither they nor anyone else can ignore the changes this country is going through, and they cannot afford to ignore the two largest so-called “minority groups” in the U.S. In order to win elections they must now reach out much more to those who have been marginalized for so many years.
Prior to FDR, Black people voted almost entirely Republican. Now we see that more than 95 percent of Black voters support Democrats. While that is not a prescription for success in either direction by the Black electorate, maybe now we will come to our senses as well by understanding the power of the collective. But that’s another article.
The nascent United States, what some called an “experiment,” has evolved to another level of discovery, and some dislike the current results of that experiment. Had the experiment been conducted without an unbiased thumb on the scales of justice, without mistreatment and malice toward those who were darker in complexion, without religious prejudice, without suppression and oppression, but instead with the understanding of the Laws of the Harvest, the latest political outcome would not be about Black, White, Hispanic, and minorities. It would be about the best man or woman winning an election.
We have become so polarized by race, which was sown when this nation was established, that there are those among us who are actually fearful now that another race, long considered inferior and subordinate, has the power to determine the political landscape. Rather than the result of the elections being a simple majority rules scenario, it was interpreted by many as a minority rules sea change, which caused unfounded trepidation and uncertainty. That’s simply the reaping that must occur from the sowing that took place previously.
The Democrat/Republican thing has gotten out of hand and has been used by some to further divide races and ethnic groups. Thus, we continue to sow seeds of discord and acrimony. What do you think we will continue to reap?
We cannot live in the past, but we can learn from it. In the beginning, this nation sowed arrogance, superiority, and hate. It is now reaping fear, guilt, and division. Although we have made significant strides socially, educationally, politically, and economically, we must continue to change and, at the same time, embrace the new face of America.
(Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site, blackonomics.com.)