Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Are White Americans Ready for Democracy?

Are white Americans capable of democratic self-governance? Given the experience in the last presidential election, I'd have to say no.

In November 2016, the majority of white Americans voted for an unstable, narcissistic buffoon with no qualifications for the office. His unsuitability for the office was on display from the very start of his campaign, but he still got more than half of white people to vote for him.

Mind you, I'm not talking about all white people. Some of them, no doubt, are well educated and perceptive and eloquent. Those whites are civilized enough to participate in democratic institutions, and they should be welcomed.

But the rest of them? It's sad to say, but they're simply not far enough removed from the traditions of their home continent. As we all know, the white population of Europe has a pretty bad track record over the last century. No one wants the US to replicate the failed policies of the white-dominated Balkan states, or Italy, or post-World War I Russia. And of course I don't need to remind people how the democratic experiment in Weimar Germany ended.

Admittedly, a few white European nations have succeeded at democratic self-rule. The Scandinavian countries have done pretty well. Post-Cold War Germany and France are holding up. But European-Americans don't seem to want to emulate these examples. No, they seem much more attracted to leaders like Berlusconi and Putin.

It's a shame.

Perhaps in the next few elections, white Americans will learn some lessons from the voting patterns of black and Latino Americans, who have for decades consistently voted for sane, rational, intelligent candidates. Perhaps; but don't hold your breath.