Pat Buchanan has written an article so racist in tone, so devoid of reason and so fundamentally ignorant of the state of the union that it might very well be remembered as height of the radical conservative movement's paranoid hysteria over the election of Barack Obama. Those mesmerized by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity will surely find Buchanan's article intoxicating. It is, perhaps, the movement's magnum opus.
Buchanan's article, "Traditional Americans are Losing Their Nation" has perfectly captured the conservative mentality. Namely, that everything wrong with the country is the doing of minorities, progressives and liberal ignorance of middle America.
The piece begins by describing a brand new inter-conservative organization called "Oath Keepers". Think of Oath Keepers as Tea Party activists with a penchant for violence. Buchanan describes the Oath Keepers movement in this way:
Formed in March, they are ex-military and police who repledge themselves to defend the Constitution, even if it means disobeying orders. If the U.S. government ordered law enforcement agencies to violate Second Amendment rights by disarming the people, Oath Keepers will not obey.In short, Oath Keepers are radical conservatives willing to violently oppose the government. Who would join such a group? Buchanan sheds light on this as well:
"The whole point of Oath Keepers is to stop a dictatorship from ever happening here," says founding father Stewart Rhodes, an ex-Army paratrooper and Yale-trained lawyer. "My focus is on the guys with the guns, because they can't do it without them.
"We say if the American people decide it's time for a revolution, we'll fight with you."
"Whites are not only more anxious, but also more alienated. Big majorities of whites say the past year's turmoil has diminished their confidence in government, corporations and the financial industry. ... Asked which institution they trust most to make economic decisions in their interest, a plurality of whites older than 30 pick 'none' a grim statement."Apparently whites over the age of thirty who feel alienated by their country are the foundation of the Oath Keepers movement. Of course, Buchanan foreshadowed this segment of the population by using the divisive term "traditional Americans" in the title of his article.
Moreover, the alienation and radicalization of white America began long before Obama arrived.
More importantly than "who" however, is "why". Why are the Oath Keepers necessary and why would somebody find their positions attractive? This is where I believe Buchanan's article becomes infamous. In order to explain why a radical, violent conservative movement is needed, Buchanan assembles the definitive laundry list of modern conservative grievances:
In their lifetimes, they have seen their Christian faith purged from schools their taxes paid for, and mocked in movies and on TV. They have seen their factories shuttered in the thousands and their jobs outsourced in the millions to Mexico and China. They have seen trillions of tax dollars go for Great Society programs, but have seen no Great Society, only rising crime, illegitimacy, drug use and dropout rates.To summarize Buchanan's commentary... It is reasonable and justified for white, middle-american's over the age of 30 to join a movement threatening violent revolution against their government in order to combat transgressions perceived to be aimed solely at them.
They watch on cable TV as illegal aliens walk into their country, are rewarded with free educations and health care and take jobs at lower pay than American families can live on then carry Mexican flags in American cities and demand U.S. citizenship.
They see Wall Street banks bailed out as they sweat their next paycheck, then read that bank profits are soaring, and the big bonuses for the brilliant bankers are back. Neither they nor their kids ever benefited from affirmative action, unlike Barack and Michelle Obama.
They see a government in Washington that cannot balance its books, win our wars or protect our borders. The government shovels out trillions to Fortune 500 corporations and banks to rescue the country from a crisis created by the government and Fortune 500 corporations and banks.
America was once their country. They sense they are losing it. And they are right.
The most obvious fallacy of Buchanan's argument is that the problems he points out only affect white middle-america. There's an elderly black woman in New York who is just as disturbed by the decline of religious participation in this country as a soccer mom in South Carolina. A 19 year-old Latino citizen in LA is far more likely to lose a job opportunity to an illegal immigrant than a 40 year-old architect in Ohio. The tax dollars used to bail out the banks came from all corners of the country, not just the heartland and the bible-belt. Yet, according to Buchanan, the only people that have a justifiable gripe with the direction of the country are white's in the heartland i.e., "traditional Americans".