Some people "get" America, says Kathleen Parker, and some "people" don't. It's not clear whether "getting" it means understanding it, or owning and running it by divine right. A little of both, probably.
Blackhearted gossoons like yours truly have sometimes hinted that the Right's idea of patriotism relies a little too heavily on dime-a-dozen stage props like the Stars and Stripes. Parker, to her credit, agrees:
Who "gets" America? And who doesn't?These symbols are inadequate because anyone can buy them and flaunt them, from the wogs down the street to the coons next door to the chinks across the way. Real Americanism is deeper than that. It's more...integral, if you follow my meaning. It's more personal, if you catch my drift. It's one of those black and white issues, nudge nudge.
The answer has nothing to do with a flag lapel pin, which Obama donned for a campaign swing through West Virginia, or even military service, though that helps. It's also not about flagpoles in front yards or magnetic ribbons stuck on tailgates.
It's about blood equity, heritage and commitment to hard-won American values. And roots....Oh, absolutely. One only has to read John Derbyshire or Mark Steyn or Dinesh D'Souza to appreciate the essential justice of this...this...this weltanschauung. It takes time, at the very least, to become a "full-blooded American." Indeed, I'd venture to say that some unfortunate people may never quite manage it. As Charles Bargone pointed out, "the climate, so quick to change a man's skin, takes years to change his blood, and centuries to modify the neurones!"
We love to boast that we are a nation of immigrants -- and we are. But there's a different sense of America among those who trace their bloodlines back through generations of sacrifice.
Anyhow, White America has been put on the defensive for too long, according to Parker, and its legendary patience is at last wearing thin.
What they sense is that their heritage is being swept under the carpet while multiculturalism becomes the new national narrative. And they fear what else might get lost in the remodeling of America.This "remodeling" is what Parker elsewhere presents as "the dash to diversity," as though it were some drastic and purposeful deviation from the normal course of things. Acknowledging everyday reality amounts to special pleading, y'see, while aggrieved believers in the crackpot phantasmagoria that Parker calls "once-upon-a-time America" are merely keepin' it real...just as they were when they portrayed the Irish and the Italians and the Chinese and the Jews as an unassimilable horde of subhumans with a marrow-deep affinity for vice, vermin and filth.
I agree that this heritage shouldn't be swept under the carpet; it should be swept off the face of the earth. Any American life not spent in explicit or implicit repudiation of it is flawed at best. Parker talks sanctimoniously of forefathers who "fought and died" for America, as though the best of them hadn't fought and died precisely so that boots like Parker's might one day be lifted from the necks of minorities, women and the poor. (And God knows I'm not necessarily talking about soldiers here.)
Parker's sympathy, I suspect, lies more with that crowd of geniuses who saw Walt Whitman as a fag and George Herriman as a nigger and Emma Goldman as a kike whore, and couldn't look at the American wilderness without estimating how much it was worth per foot, and sneered at every native artistic production that didn't cater to their bottomless appetite for unearned praise and entrepreneurial platitudes. Which is to say, her sympathy lies with power, regardless of how confidently she struts around in the borrowed plumes of white working-class resentment.
Just in case you haven't had enough mawkish celebration of the Herrenvolk for one day, the intrepid Michael Medved checks in with an article on "American DNA":
The radical notion that our national character stems from genetics as well as culture has always inspired angry controversy; many observers scoff at the whole idea of a unifying hereditary component in our multi-racial, multi-cultural society....Our stark differences in appearance, if nothing else, argue against the concept of common DNA connecting contemporary citizens of wildly divergent ancestry.Duly noted. But what these scoffers fail to reckon with is that we're a nation descended from traitors who deserted the Homeland when the going got rough:
In “American Mania,” Peter C. Whybrow of U.C.L.A. argues that even in grim epochs of starvation and persecution, only a small minority ever chooses to abandon its native land and to venture across forbidding oceans to pursue the elusive dream of a better life.In other words, it slowly but inexorably dawned on them that someone had moved their cheese. It's only natural that the descendants of these visionary malcontents should "possess a distinctive makeup of their 'dopamine receptor system – the pathway in the brain that figures centrally in boldness and novelty seeking.'"
Which explains why Medved screams for smelling salts and a vinegar poultice when movies fail to follow the path made holy by The Sound of Music, and why Obama's polite refusal of a morning cup of coffee turned the nation upside-down, and why Kathleen Parker has devoted so much energy and malice to explaining that "full-blooded Americans" don't nohow cotton to this here multicultural guff, any more than they did back in 19-ought-3.
Next week: Jonah Goldberg explains that "blood and soil" is actually quite a useful concept, once you abstract it from its unfortunate liberal-fascist historical context, and praises ranchers (but not dairy farmers) as the most precious blood-source of the American People.
(Illustration: "The Coming Man -- Uncle Sam Introduces Eastern Barbarism to Western Civilization." From Harper's Weekly, 1869.)