In the run-up to the 2012 U.S. presidential election, Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly offered an amusing perspective on how demographic shifts in America would impact the outcome of the race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
O’Reilly lamented that, because of changing racial demographics in the country, there is no longer “a traditional America anymore” and even that the “white establishment is now the minority.” These factors — along with promises of government handouts — he asserted, would aid Obama’s chances for remaining in the White House.
O’Reilly’s comments were certainly illuminating, but mostly for inadvertently revealing a profound pathology that sections of America suffer from. This pathology combines paranoia, delusional anxiety and coded racism into an overriding fear that “traditional America” and White domination are ending as a result of demographic, socio-economic and international developments.
And this pathology is manifest in diverse forms including Islamophobia, anti-Latino nativism, Yellow Peril hysteria about China, job outsourcing to developing nations and the criminalization of African Americans.
And it is even expressed in the response to Barack Obama.
According to a 2012 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of American patriot or militia-style organizations has “exploded” since Obama’s emergence on the national political scene, with a growth rate of 755 percent between 2008 and 2011.
While Obama is viewed by liberals as a figure of hope and change heralding a more progressive America in contrast to Republicans like George W. Bush or Mitt Romney, he is an anathema for many conservatives. Because of his “unique” background, Obama symbolizes everything that they hate as an alleged Socialist, Muslim or Black nationalist.
The irony, however, is that all these groups are wrong about what Obama truly represents.
Despite Obama’s political hype about hope and change, there is continuity between the Obama and Bush regimes in foreign and domestic policy.
Thus, like his predecessor, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Obama is anything but peaceful, as he has murdered countless numbers of Muslims (and others) in multiple countries through drone strikes and kill lists.
Indeed, Obama’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq has proven to be a tactical maneuver with American militarism unleashed on other fronts such as the occupation of Afghanistan; the 2011 aggression against Libya; the dirty war against Syria; the deployment of troops in African nations like Mali; and the military encirclement of Iran, Russia and especially China.
Obama has also served the interests of U.S. capitalism with massive financial bailouts for Wall Street and Detroit automakers. Under Obama, the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program has given trillions of dollars to banks — even as spending cuts for programs like Medicare, Head Start or Social Security are imposed.
In terms of minority issues, Obama, for instance, has deported undocumented immigrants at a greater rate than any president in history. And he even placed former Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list because of her alleged guilt in the shooting of a New Jersey state trooper more than 40 years ago.
Given all this, it’s laughable to conceive of Barack Obama as a Leftist, Muslim, Black nationalist or even a self-styled progressive.
The ludicrous reaction to Obama (both negative and positive) reflects what many Americans mistakenly believe he symbolizes about fundamental changes in the demographic makeup of America — and the underlying White anxiety engendered.
As the U.S. Census Bureau projected in a 2012 study, the U.S. will undergo a historic tipping point by 2043, when White people will no longer comprise the majority group, but merely be part of a plurality.
For many people, this shift incites fear and loathing, as it symbolically represents the end of White hegemony in the U.S.
For many White Americans, an essential — though unspoken — question is thus: how can they maintain their jealously-guarded wealth, privilege and power in a country that is increasingly non-White?
In general, to understand these developments, one ultimately has to understand the true history of the U.S.
Despite its propaganda about being the “Land of the Free,” America was in fact spawned as a White settler empire based upon the enslavement of Africans and the ethnic cleansing and colonization of the indigenous First Nations —not to mention the subsequent theft of vast swathes of Mexico and conquest of Hawaii, as well as racist pogroms and exclusion acts against Asian immigrants.
White people have historically comprised the grassroots base for this American empire against people of color since its inception.
Today, however, the United States is mutating from its roots as a White colonial empire to that of a multiracial empire, with people of color promoted to positions of power in society at large. Condoleezza Rice, Eric Holder, John Yoo, Susan Rice and Alberto Gonzales are just a few examples of prominent minorities serving Democrat or Republican regimes.
While some may naively believe that this “inclusiveness” simply reflects a more diverse America, it also represents a cunning strategy of the U.S. ruling class to expand its social base from White Europeans to racial minorities.
Barack Obama is indeed the face of twenty-first century America, as some people have suggested — but not in the way that they believe — as Obama actually represents the American Empire’s newest front man for an increasingly diverse world.
The first Black president thus serves the very White establishment that Bill O’Reilly fantasizes is now a “minority.”