In the last few months, the Republican Party has spoken to many ideas. Many of them very important to the GOP. They speak freely on the economy, foreign policy, education and government spending. What they do not talk about very often, is their plan on how to unify an America so much more diverse than what the founding fathers created. They steadily evade any deep discussions on race (unless it is in direct proportion to a cost they don’t approve of).
For many this is frustrating. For others it is proof of their bigotry. But as one New York Times article says, it may be all by design. Especially for Mitt Romney:
Of course, I’m not talking about a strict count of melanin density. I’m referring to the countless subtle and not-so-subtle ways he telegraphs to a certain type of voter that he is the cultural alternative to America’s first black president. It is a whiteness grounded in a retro vision of the country, one of white picket fences and stay-at-home moms and fathers unashamed of working hard for corporate America.
Yes, since 1978 the church has allowed blacks to become priests. But Mormonism is still imagined by its adherents as a religion founded by whites, for whites, rooted in a millenarian vision of an America destined to fulfill a white God’s plans for earth.
The piece gives stunning credit to the reality many of us have tried to deny since Barack Obama got into office. Mainly that America has not really moved forward that much. There are many people, eager to take us back to the “good old days”- whatever those are.
In this way, whether he means to or not, Mr. Romney connects with a central evangelic fantasy: that the Barack Obama years, far from being the way forward, are in fact a historical aberration, a tear in the white space-time continuum. And let’s be clear: Mr. Obama’s election was not destiny, but a fluke.
According to the New York Times, many Americans are banking on that fluke philosophy.