Friday, April 15, 2011

English? Male? Christian?

See spot run. Run spot run. See the neighbors, store owners and policemen. They're all white, square jawed men, some have blue eyes, a few have freckles. They go to (Protestant-looking) church. They work. Let's parse this.

The archetypal image of significant Americans as transplanted English, Protestant men goes back to the Constitution (read the whole thing, Tea Party fans!), which defined nonwhites as a fraction of a person, even though whites at the time were the minority in the United States.

English was never adopted as an official language; indeed, no vote was taken — English likely would have lost to German. In fact, the notion that Americans come from English stock is a myth.

Even among the U.S. white settlers who were English speakers by family tradition, most flew that false-flag nationality known as "Scotch-Irish," that is to say, they were from Ulster —not English at all. They sure as hell weren't Irish (ask the IRA). They were the descendants of the Scots sent to vie for the English throne, then left there.

The ones who came to America were the ne'er-do-wells who hadn't made it a century or two after landing as conquerors. They won the Battle of the Boyne and nothing else. That's why they hated the Irish who came during the Potato Famine in the 1840s: the real Irish knew what riffraff they really were.

And men ... Haven't men, in almost all societies, been somewhat less than the majority of the population? Why, then, did laws and custom presume that only men could work for pay, lead, vote, own property and so forth?

Lastly, there's the claim to being Christian.

When in history has U.S. society prized the poor, those who mourn, those who thirst for justice and those who make peace? When have we, collectively or individually in some significant way, turned the other cheek: is that what was done at Fort McHenry, at the Alamo, Fort Sumter, on the Maine, in the fields of Flanders, at Iwo Jima, after 9/11?

Thomas Jefferson, believed in a Creator — more or less. George Washington told the truth (but not in his expense accounts to the Continental Congress). Benjamin Franklin was a decidedly avaricious and pleasure-seeking man.

The reality is that the United States believes in money, was built by Africans, Spaniards, the Dutch, Germans, Irish and Chinese of a variety of religions; most Americans were and are women. That's the real America.

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