Tag Archives: e pluribus unum

Wade Michael Page and the two Americas

 Wade Michael Page is seen in this undated picture from a myspace.com web page for the musical group "End Apathy"

Wade Michael Page (shown in some news images above), who was 40 years old when he was killed yesterday as he was committing a heinous hate crime, didn’t look so different from the way that I look.

He was and I am a brown-haired white man in his 40s with a shaved head and a goatee. His eyes appear to have been hazel or green and mine are blue, and I have no tattoos, but still, just looking at us, just from appearances, you might assume that he was and I am on the same page.

But he was and I am not even in the same library.

Page, who yesterday gunned to death six people at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before he was gunned to death by a police officer, held a very different vision of what the United States of America should be than do I.

Page reportedly was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1998 for “patterns of misconduct” and was “ineligible for re-enlistment.” He also was a white supremacist. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and individuals who are involved in hate groups:

Wade Michael Page was a member of two racist skinhead [musical] bands – End Apathy and Definite Hate, a band whose album “Violent Victory” featured a gruesome drawing of a disembodied white arm punching a black man in the face. In the drawing, the fist is tattooed with the letters “HFFH,” the acronym for the phrase “Hammerskins Forever, Forever Hammerskins.”

The Hammerskins is a nationwide skinhead organization with regional factions and chapters that once dominated the racist skinhead movement in the United States.

Both of Page’s bands played with a revolving lineup of musicians, and their music was at one time featured on the Hammerskin Nation record label. In 2010, Page and his band mates – including Brent Rackley, a member of a Confederate Hammerskins chapter in North Carolina — played at a racist music festival called Independent Artist Uprise in Baltimore. Other bands featured at the show were Blue Eyed Devils and Max Resist, both influential mainstays on the hate music scene.

“Blue-eyed devil.” As one who possesses blue eyes, I never want to be mistaken for a white supremacist.

I don’t believe that the United States of America should be a white-majority nation, either in numbers or in political power. (Even when whites have only a plurality in terms of their population in a certain area, they still tend to wield majority political power in that area.)

I don’t believe that the racial makeup of the United States of America matters. An American, to me, is anyone who lives here. (I’m not even concerned about his or her citizenship status.) I am not disturbed that racial demographics in the U.S. are shifting, so that whites increasingly are becoming a minority in the nation as a whole. (Whites already are a minority in many regions of the nation.)

I don’t believe in an American monoculture, which is what Page and his ilk apparently have wanted: a culture of white, patriarchal, usually theocratic so-called “Christians” who believe that those who are different — those whose race or beliefs or language or customs or sexual orientation or gender identification differ from the white monoculture’s or from what the white monoculture dictates these things “should” be — should be relegated to ghettoes, driven out of the U.S. and/or even exterminated.

A monoculture of any type is dangerous. Biologists will tell you that when a species does not allow in some genetic diversity, that species’ genetic defects, which are not washed out, then, so to speak, will then threaten the species.

Ditto for culture. The closed-off white monoculture envisioned by Page and his ilk is a recipe for ruin because it lets in nothing different and new, making adaptability to a changing environment difficult to impossible.

Only by allowing in diversity can the United States of America adapt to a rapidly changing world. Others possess what the white monoculture does not possess — and what it needs. (And yes, even the white monoculture has some valuable things to offer other cultures.)

Far from the white supremacist viewpoint, mine is much like that of the late Mexican philosopher, politician and writer José Vasconcelos, who in his long essay “La Raza Cósmica” (“The Cosmic Race”)* urged the intentional mixing of all of the races in order to maximize the gifts that the various peoples of the world possess.

It’s a Utopian vision, I know. Indeed, Vasconcelos even calls the achievement of such a society “Universópolis.” You don’t get much more Utopian-sounding than that.

But is this vision really any different from the vision statement that is printed on our nation’s seal and on our currency: “E pluribus unum,” Latin for “out of many, one”?

I hold that this vision, however Utopian, is a much higher vision than that of Wade Michael Page, who was just one of millions of white American men (and women) whose vision, whether they openly admit it or not, is that of continued white supremacy — a right-wing, racist vision akin to that of Nazi Germany.

I hold that the vision of “E pluribus unum” is the true American vision, although the history of the United States of America is one big violation of this vision after another. Indeed, the American ideals were violated even as they were created. But because the vision repeatedly has been violated by those who have yet to rise up to it is no reflection upon the validity and the strength of the vision itself.

Speaking further of the truly American vision, I take the words associated with the Statue of Liberty quite seriously:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me …”

Therefore, I see anti-immigrant sentiment as deeply un-American. Anti-immigrant sentiment is as American as apple pie, you might argue, and I would agree with you that yes, in what we have seen throughout U.S. history to this present day, it sure is, but in terms of the vision, of the ideal, it is quite un-American. 

The six Sikhs whom Wade Michael Page gunned down in cold blood — five men and one woman who ranged in age from 39 to 84 — they, I am guessing, were among the “masses yearning to breathe free.” They, I am guessing, responded to the promise that the United States of America had made to them that it wanted them, that it would embrace them, that it would grant them some freedom, or at least some opportunity.

They met a white supremacist coward’s bullets instead.

They met his bullets because he very apparently considered them to be a threat to his continued survival and that of the group(s) to which he perceived himself to belong.

I consider them and others whose culture is so different from mine not to be a threat, but to be an opportunity — an opportunity to learn more, to discover more, to grow, to expand my concept, and theirs, of what it is to be a human being on planet Earth in this cosmos.

Rather than spray Sikhs with bullets, or even with rubber bands, I’d much rather spray them with questions. I’d rather compare notes.

That doesn’t mean that I’d ever become a Sikh or a Muslim or a Hindu (yes, white supremacists, they’re all different) or that I’d learn a foreign language that is incredibly difficult for someone whose first language was English to learn, such as Mandarin or Cantonese or Japanese or one of the Russian dialects.

But it means that I’m not afraid to share the same space with people who significantly are different from me, and it means that I’m willing to engage in cultural exchange that benefits everyone.

Although they might look the same on the surface, there truly are two United States of Americas.

One of them is represented by the likes of Wade Michael Page.

I am proud to represent the other one.

*Written in 1925, the essay contains some sentences that seem racist or at least stereotypical today, so I don’t endorse every word that Vasconcelos put down in his essay, but I do endorse his overarching ideas, and it does seem to me that, as Vasconcelos posited those many decades ago, Latin America might offer the United States its best hope for salvation, which is ironic, given the United States’ historic oppression of Latin America.

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Lynchings begin before Labor Day

File:TheMeltingpot1.jpg

The concept of the “melting pot” and the motto E Pluribus Unum (Latin for “out of many, one”) on the seal of the United States of America (and also on the seals of the U.S. president, of both houses of Congress and of the U.S. Supreme Court — and on most of our money, as well) mean absofuckinglutely nothing to the “tea-party” dipshits who claim to hold a monopoly on American patriotism and define a “patriot” as only a conservative, white, “Christian,” capitalist heterosexual.

There must be an election day approaching, because the wingnutty politicians — most of them stupid white Repugnican males — are working overtime trying to divide and conquer the American people for their own personal political gain at the expense of the nation as a whole.

So much for the fucking “melting pot.”

The members of the Repugnican Tea Party aren’t waiting to campaign until after Labor Day, however; their assault on those who are different from them already is in full force.

There is Repugnican has-been Newt Gingrich calling the planned Muslim complex near the former site of the World Trade Center part of “an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization.” (Repugnican Tea Party star Sarah Palin-Quayle had already pleaded with Muslims — via Twitter [if Palin-Quayle runs in 2012, maybe Lindsey Lohan can be her running mate] — to “refudiate” the establishment of the Muslim center.)*

Come on, Newt. The unelected BushCheneyCorp (and other Repugnicans, like Rudy Giuliani) got to shamelessly milk 9/11 for political gain for at least five years (at least from September 2001 through November 2006, when the Repugs lost the U.S. House of Representatives and bogeywoman Nancy Pelosi became speaker).

The 9/11 cow is  bone dry.

Estimates of the number of Muslims in the United States vary widely, from around 1.3 million on the low end to 7 million on the high end, with 7 million being the estimate of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which I surmise is inflated for political purposes, and from the estimates available, I surmise that there probably are around 5 million Muslim Americans at most.

So I hardly think that we Americans need to worry about the “Islamo”fascists taking over and destroying the nation.

Ironically, it’s the “Christo”fascists we need to worry about. While I can’t think of one right that the Muslims have taken from me, here in California, the Mormon cult, working with the Catholick church and other wingnutty haters, stripped me of my right to marry anyone of my choosing — a right that the California Supreme Court had ruled was mine under the California Constitution.

This Mormon website states: “In the United States the [Mormon cult] is the fourth largest individual [“Christian”] denomination, with over 5.5 million members, a population about equal to the number of Muslims.” [Emphasis mine.]

Ironic, eh?

Yeah, ya know, I’m not worried about the Muslims, but the fucking Mormons already have pushed their theocratic “Christo”fascism on me — and succeeded, at least with Proposition H8.

And one of the Mormon cult’s zombies, Mitt Romney, wants to be president. (Over this dead faggot’s body will an operative for the “Christo”fascist cabal in Salt Lake City become president of the United States of America. [And the wingnuts called Barack Hussein Obama a “Manchurian candidate”…])

The “Christo”fascists won’t stop trying to shove their fucking bullshit beliefs down the entire nation’s throat.

This title from amazon.com demonstrates what I’m talking about:

This book is No. 10 on amazon.com’s best-seller list as I type this sentence. (My guess is that it was hyped up on Faux “News” and other right-wing “media” outlets, and thus its success on amazon.com right now.)

Would a book linking Islam and American patriotism be acceptable? No? Why not? Why would a book linking what passes for Christianity in the United States and American patriotism be OK, then?

Why is it that the “Christo”fascist wingnuts don’t oppose theocracy — but that they just want to make sure that it’s their bullshit religion that runs the show, and not Islam or another bullshit religion?

As an American citizen — born and raised here — I resent the assertion that any one religion has a monopoly on patriotism in the United States of America, and I find the conflation of “Christianity” and patriotism to be nauseating as well as unconstitutional, un-American and “Christo”fascist.

To me, a theocratic fascist is a theocratic fascist — whether he or she is an “Islamo”fascist or a “Christo”fascist (or, for that matter, a “Judeo”fascist).

Yet the Newt Gingriches of the world talk about such things as “an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization” while they fucking orchestrate their own cultural-political offensive, based upon their hatefully twisted-beyond-recognition teachings of Jesus Christ, to undermine and destroy our civilization. That’s why I think of them as the “American Taliban.”

Mine is a secular nation, not a “Christian” or “Judeo-Christian” nation, no matter what the wingnutty fucktards claim. Memo to the wingnuts: Keep your fucking stupid, backasswards beliefs off of my constitutional rights, fuck you very much!

It’s not just the stupid white men — it’s the stupid white women, too, such as Palin-Quayle, the grand dragoness of the “tea party” crowd, and the racist, white supremacist Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, the Wicked Witch of the Southwest, who has tried to use the persecution of the brown-skinned peoples in Arizona for her November election but who has been foiled by the federal courts, which refuse to decide on Arizona’s anti-browned-skinned-person law, now on hold, until after the November elections.

And then there’s John McCainosaurus, also trying to win election in Arizona on the backs of the wetbacks, proclaiming that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constititution should be changed so that children born on U.S. soil to parents who aren’t citizens aren’t automatically U.S. citizens by birth.

On board with McCainosaurus is Alabama’s Jeff (short for Jefferson, but Jeff sure sounds a lot folksier to your Joe the Plumber set) Sessions, the top Repugnican on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Reports Politico:

Sessions … said a re-examination of the 14th Amendment “deserves serious discussion” and that he supports hearings [on changing the amendment].

“People do not believe you should be able to break into America, have a baby and then the baby becomes a citizen, and the whole family says, ‘We can’t go home. My child is a citizen,’” Sessions told reporters on Capitol Hill. “It’s an unfair way to gain priority in the application for legal immigration into America.”

Fortunately, on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee it’s Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont who calls the shots, not assbite Sessions, and Leahy wisely says that no such hearing will happen before the November elections.

Of course, after the November elections, it won’t be so much of an issue for the race-baiting Repugnicans and their “tea-partying” ilk anymore.

A person could, I suppose, make at least a semi-legitimate argument that at least one parent should have U.S. citizenship before a newborn squeezed out here or in U.S. territory could be a citizen, but tampering with the U.S. Constitution (or a state’s constitution), especially in order to strip individuals of their rights, is walking upon perilously thin ice. And tampering with the U.S. Constitution (or a state’s constitution) should not be used primarily as a political ploy to win the hater vote.

And it’s funny how the right wing thinks that the purpose of amending our federal and state constitutions is to roll back, rather than to expand, human rights. I had thought that the wingnuts were all about freedom, liberty, freedom, liberty, freedom, liberty, freedom, liberty, freedom, liberty, blah blah blah — and against tyranny. But they sure love their tyranny by the (shrinking white) majority, don’t they?

And very apparently, only conservative, white, “Christian,” heterosexual, capitalist Americans (especially those possessing the XY chromosomes) are to have any fucking freedom at all.

So this is the Repugnican Tea Party’s obvious strategy for November 2010: to pit groups of people against other groups of people in order to take the voters’ attention away from the Repugnican Tea Party’s stark record of failure and its allegiance to the super-rich instead of to the common American. (Palin-Quayle, for instance, opposes allowing the Bush tax cuts for the filthy rich to expire, but at the same time she fucking claims that she’s a populist — just one of us. You betcha!)

Yes, the Repugnican Tea Partiers are uniters, not dividers. And they’re such great “Christians.” And, being the uber-patriots that they are, upholding the national ideal of E Pluribus Unum, they just love to stir that red, white and blue American melting pot, because they’re all about diversity.

*As I have noted, my only problem with the planned Muslim complex near the former site of the World Trade Center is that I don’t think that anyone visiting it would be safe from violence from the unhinged, self-righteous Muslim-haters.

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