*It is fitting that President Obama’s second inauguration will take place on Martin Luther King Day.
Even more than his revolutionary White House win in 2008, Obama’s re-election represents the fulfillment of the Dr. King’s dream of a racially just nation. The rage of a prominent racist pundit proves that.
The day after President Obama was voted back into the White House, Pat Buchanan – the uber-conservative known for racially incendiary rhetoric – phoned right wing radio host G. Gordon Liddy and lamented: “White America died last night. Obama’s reelection killed it. Our 200 plus year history as a Western nation is over.” Buchanan told Liddy that he had “cried for hours” after the November 6 election and then bemoaned: “It’s over for all of us. The great white nation will never survive another four years of Obama’s leadership.”
Ironically, I take comfort in Buchanan’s insulting racist rant. Because he’s right (though not for the reason he thinks) and that’s a good thing.
Buchanan is dead wrong when he claims that white Americans as a group are doomed because a black President is returning to the Oval Office. (Buchanan’s suggestion is not only racist but it is laughably illogical considering President Obama’s populist domestic policies which have benefited Americans across all demographics.) But the old America in which white men held absolute power — and used that power to dominate, restrict, oppress and brutalize people of color, women, immigrants, non-Protestants and other so-called minorities – is dead. Thanks to the freedom fighters who labored and sacrificed on all levels of U.S. society the original, white supremacist America has been dying for decades. And, as the teary-eyed Buchanan pointed out, the second election of Barack Obama was the kill shot.
When they went to the polls last November 6, voters didn’t simply choose a President. They chose a direction, a definition for the nation. In re-electing President Obama, a majority of the American people confirmed their commitment to an inclusive United States that draws strength from its diversity and defends the rights of all its citizens. By bestowing the Presidency on Mr. Obama a second time, Americans rejected the rage, race-baiting and and divisiveness of the Tea Party and birther conservatives whose rallying cry of “I want my country back” reflects a tragic paranoia about the expanding racial, ethnic, gender and socio-economic multiplicity of our great nation.
That’s why Pat Buchanan spent election night crying.
Of course racism – both individual and institutional – still exists in our nation but it no longer enjoys the sanction of law, federal policy and social acceptability. Racism is no longer a mainstream American value.
Pat Buchanan’s America is gone. And it’s never coming back. Never again will the Land of the Free be a place where the denial of freedom is legally protected and socially permitted.