But there’s another America as well, one that understands itself as a
distinctive culture, rather than just a set of political propositions.
This America speaks English, not Spanish or Chinese or Arabic. It looks
back to a particular religious heritage: Protestantism originally, and
then a Judeo-Christian consensus that accommodated Jews and Catholics
as well. It draws its social norms from the mores of the Anglo-Saxon
diaspora — and it expects new arrivals to assimilate themselves to
these norms, and quickly.
Yes. It does. You know fucking WHY, you stupid, privileged bitch? Because the people presently in charge are rich white Anglo-Saxon MEN who find it kind of awkward and passé to rag on Jews and Papists openly (but have NO problem talking shit about Mexicans when they think nobody else in the conversation will judge them).
You know what determines the expectation to assimilate to what degree? SIMPLE FUCKING NUMBERS. On a calendar and on the census. That’s it. That’s all. I expect you to speak English because I speak it. I expect you to keep your religious practices under wraps because I don’t often publicly get into the whole “cannibalistic rite of flesh and blood” I practice every week.
I expect you to dress like me and act like me because I fucking CAN, because right now there are more people who look like me in positions of power than who look like you.
Because that’s the one America, the one rule we all live by. Douthat makes this sound charmingly unrealistic:
There’s an America where it doesn’t matter what language you speak,
what god you worship, or how deep your New World roots run. An America
where allegiance to the Constitution trumps ethnic differences,
language barriers and religious divides. An America where the newest
arrival to our shores is no less American than the ever-so-great
granddaughter of the Pilgrims.
It is. But guess what? It’s no less unrealistic than the first passage I quoted. It’s no less a false construction, one that ignores a history that has always been about the ones who came before shaming and fighting the ones who came after, over and over again. The difference is that one should be encouraged and the other excoriated, so as to continue to move our society forward.
Then again, our national press ain’t in the business of doing that these days. Our national press, pindick pundits like Douthat especially, is engaged in telling us that this is the world and we should accept it, kick back, maybe shake our heads but for God’s sake don’t get upset about it or anything because there’s no point. I mean, the tone of this thing:
The first America celebrated religious liberty; the second America persecuted Mormons and discriminated against Catholics.
But both understandings of this country have real wisdom to offer, and
both have been necessary to the American experiment’s success.
Just screams to the reader, “Hey, don’t worry about it! No reason to advocate for one side or the other! It’s not like I’m a columnist! It’s not like I should be telling you with the incredibly powerful voice I possess what our reaction as a society should be to the horseshit being spewed by one America or the other! Both have real wisdom to offer! Especially that whole ‘discrimination against religious minorities’ thing! Chill out! Whatchagonnado?” I mean, this is kind of our modern press’s whole institutional thing right now. This is what we do, tell you how best to avoid that uncouth and self-righteous faux pas ofactually giving a fuck.
I read a whole rage-inducingTime magazine thing over the weekend, about how the truth is just subservient to lies because of our culture, and you can’t make fucknecks believe the truth anymore, so maybe what we ought to be doing is making excuses for the fucknecks so that they’ll … I dunno, buy Time magazine, like that’s ever going to happen? It’s the usual passivity, because iPhones, and the Internet, and anyway it’s all too hard to sort out. My head hurts. I need to lie down. Nobody cares anyway.
This is the thing that makes me the most angry among the many things that make me angry about our bullshit press these days. I don’t understand becoming a columnist, putting your voice out there, only to say so little. Only to call religious ignorance and dipshittery just another way of looking at the world, equally as valid as any other.
And by the way, Douthat’s column was written in English.
This is America, motherfucker.