Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The White Nationalism of Federalist No. 2

So, I've been re-reading The Federalist Papers. Here's a quote of the day for you, courtesy of John Jay in No. 2:
"It has often given me pleasure to observe that independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected, fertile, widespreading country was the portion of our western sons of liberty. Providence has in a particular manner blessed it with a variety of soils and productions, and watered it with innumerable streams, for the delight and accommodation of its inhabitants. A succession of navigable waters forms a kind of chain round its borders, as if to bind it together; while the most noble rivers in the world, running at convenient distances, present them with highways for the easy communication of friendly aids, and the mutual transportation and exchange of their various commodities.

With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people--a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.

....To all general purposes we have uniformly been one people each individual citizen everywhere enjoying the same national rights, privileges, and protection."
Count the fictions. First: the notion that "Providence," rather than, say, violence and genocide, has granted "one united people" the "one connected, fertile, widespreading country" of "America."

Two: the notion that the conquerors were one "united people" at all, coming from "the same ancestors."

Three: the notion that the "people" and the "individual citizens" within this land were one and the same, all having same rights, privileges, and protections.

As we continue to resist the rising tide of emboldened white nationalists, Neo-Nazis, and misogynists in the US, we must not forget that white, Christian, male supremacist nationalism is embedded within some of the founding documents and structure of the American political-legal system, even as these documents also, paradoxically, reference higher principles.

These roots partially explain the basic entitlement that many white Christians, men especially, are operating from in the US, as well as why Donald Trump is not a conservative populist anomaly, but an inevitable one. 

The rot has been here from the beginning.

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