White supremacy: the oligarchic con-job
The motto on the seal of the United States of America is “E Pluribus Unum” which means “out of many, one.” In the original design for the seal were symbols of the nations that provided the original immigrants — England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Holland and Germany. While this design was not approved, the special status of the new nation’s Eurocentric orientation was acknowledged. Neither Native Americans nor Africans were included as beneficiaries of America’s largesse in 1776. However, as the time went by, the nation’s expanding racially divergent citizenry made it diplomatically necessary to include others in the “E Pluribus” group.
Since many of the descendants of the early immigrants and their families have become affluent in America, it is easy for them to forget that many of their forbears were indigent when they first came to these shores. The vestiges of feudalism still impaired opportunity for European residents. While they might have belonged to the lower class in England, the U.S. promised a classless society, with the possibility of acquiring land sufficient for farming.
In the colonial era, more than half of the immigrants were indentured servants. In exchange for passage and room and board, they worked for their benefactors for a period of 4–7 years. The lucky ones were able to receive title to a piece of land, some livestock and farm equipment after their term of service.
Indentured servants were replaced by African slaves. For the first time, many whites felt the exultation of no longer being the lower class. Sen. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, one of the leading proponents of the Confederacy, expressed the importance of this status in a speech in the U.S. Senate in 1849.
“With us the two great divisions of society are not the rich and the poor, but white and black,” Calhoun said, “and all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals, if honest and industrious, and hence have a position and pride of character of which neither poverty nor misfortune can deprive them.”
President Lyndon Johnson confirmed a century later the survival of that social theorem when he said, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket.”
Indeed, the concept of white supremacy is a strongly held delusion. There has been much to challenge the notion, not the least of which is to have Barack Obama, a black man, occupy the White House. Every analysis of the elections revealed the strength of the black, Latino and Asian voters. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this population bloc will be in the majority by 2044.
The “alt-right” would like to turn the clock back to a time when the U.S. would be a major outpost that is exclusively under the control of European immigrants. The first step in that process is to limit visas for everyone else. But it is too late to shut America’s door.
Thinking Americans should soon become tired of having their pockets picked by greedy oligarchs who keep them inflamed with racial antagonism. The people should remember how haughty peers in Europe oppressed their grandparents or others and they will see a similarity.
The only wise course of action is to stop being deceived and join with those of similar economic interests, regardless of racial or ethnic background. United working-class Americans can become a significant political force.