Representative Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) eloquently explained his belief that Democrats have been fomenting racial divisions in this country; specifically by furthering policies that lead to a "war on whites." Since it would be presumptuous to enter the minds of people like Louie Gohmert, Mo Brooks, or Ted Cruz and psychoanalyze their motives, the best way to evaluate Tea Party political philosophy is through their own words. As quoted in the Washington Post, Rep. Brooks made his recent controversial comments on the Laura Ingraham Show and his words speak volumes:Brooks:
This is a part of the war on whites that's being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they're launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It's a part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things. Well that's not true. Okay.
And if you look at the polling data, every demographic group in America agrees with the rule of law, enforcing and securing our borders. And every one of them understands that illegal immigration hurts every single demographic group. It doesn't make a difference if you're a white American, a black American, Hispanic American, an Asian American or if you're a woman or a man. Every single demographic group is hurt by falling wages and lost jobs.
Congressman, don't you think...that characterization is a little out there?
When Laura Ingraham, the same pundit who advocated deporting people by the thousands (shocking even Bill O'Reilly) believes your comments are "a little out there," it says something about the validity of such views.
First, it's true that everyone agrees laws are important, but not everyone agrees with the Republican viewpoint that undocumented immigrants hurt the country. According to the Pew Research Center, 73 percent of Americans believe illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S. "should have a way to stay legally," indicating a "broad support for path to legal status." Of this figure, 70 percent of Americans believe undocumented immigrants should have some way to either apply for citizenship (46 percent) or permanent residency (24 percent). While Rep. Louie Gohmert likened the recent influx of border children to the D-Day invasion, only 45 percent of Americans view deportations as a "good thing" while 45 percent view deportations as a "bad thing." Also, immigration reform is important to 72 percent of Hispanics.
Sorry Mr. Brooks, Democrats aren't creating divisions by trying to enact laws that most Hispanics want or that over 70 percent of Americans feel should lead to illegal immigrants (currently living here) staying within the country. It's not that "whites hate everyone else," the issue is that like immigration, 69 percent of Americans believe there's evidence indicating the Earth is warming. Like immigration reform, Tea Party politics flies directly in the face of most Americans and the 97 percent of climate scientists who believe global warming is real. In topic after topic, the Tea Party stance runs contrary to the views of most Americans, and that's not the fault of race mongering Democrats; it's the fault of extreme conservatives who can't adapt to a moderate view of issues.
Furthermore, Rep. Brooks simultaneously bemoans a liberal agenda of dividing races by evoking an imaginary "war on whites." First, Mo Brooks obviously hasn't seen any data illustrating the racial breakdown of lawmakers in the U.S.
The United States Congress is a Tea Party's dream; mostly male and mostly white. It's tough to wage a "war on whites" when the 113th Congress is 85 percent white and President Obama's cabinet is 69 percent white. Contrary to Tea Party hyperbole about the fall of white male influence in politics, Diversity Inc.com explains that the most diverse Congress ever is actually still mostly white and male:
Although diversity made significant headway in the recent election, the overwhelming majority of congressional representatives (80 percent) are white and male. In the House, for example, there are 42 Blacks, 35 Latinos, 11 Asians and 2 American Indians, according to House Press Gallery, but together that accounts for only about one-fifth of all representatives. Moreover, the House has 81 women, which is 18.6 percent of the total number of representatives, but the United States is 50.8 percent women.
When there's only 42 Blacks, 35 Latinos, and 11 Asians, among 435 members of the House, claiming a "war on whites" seems a bit comical.
However, Rep. Mo Brooks and the Tea Party might really be waging a media war against demographics. Within the same Diversity Inc.com article, research shows that demographics will change rapidly over the next forty years:
Non-Hispanic white populations will decrease drastically by the year 2050, according to Census Bureau data, from 71.6 percent to 46.3 percent, and Latino populations will increase significantly from 11.3 percent to 30.3 percent. Asian populations will grow to 6.3 percent from 4.4 percent, and Black populations will tick up from 12.8 percent to 12.9 percent. More than half (50.4 percent) of babies born in the United States in 2011 were Black, Latino or Asian, per the Census Bureau.
Additionally, Pew Research reports that Asians are the fastest growing demographic, growing 43.3 percent between 2000 and 2010. Comparatively, the Latino population grew 43 percent, and the Black population grew 12.3 percent. The white population grew 5.7 percent during the same period.
By 2050, the face of American politics will be less white and more "everything else." Tea Party Republicans should worry less about conspiracies and accusing Democrats of using racial divides and more about demographics; specifically issues that are important to minority voters. That would, however, mean that the GOP would need to stop demonizing illegal immigrants, believe in climate science, embrace issues important to African-Americans like eliminating inner city unemployment of over 20 percent or more (instead of claiming inner city black males are lazy), stop equating homosexuality to alcoholism, and a host of other stubbornly held conservative beliefs.
Finally, if there's a "war on whites," it's been quite lucrative for white people in the U.S. According to the Pew Research Center, the disparity pertaining to wealth and race is more severe than ever:
The median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from 2009.
These lopsided wealth ratios are the largest since the government began publishing such data a quarter century ago and roughly twice the size of the ratios that had prevailed between these three groups for the two decades prior to the Great Recession that ended in 2009.
The Pew Research analysis finds that, in percentage terms, the bursting of the housing market bubble in 2006 and the recession that followed from late 2007 to mid-2009 took a far greater toll on the wealth of minorities than whites. From 2005 to 2009, inflation-adjusted median wealth fell by 66 percent among Hispanic households and 53 percent among black households, compared with just 16 percent among white households.
... As a result of these declines, the typical black household had just $5,677 in wealth (assets minus debts) in 2009; the typical Hispanic household had $6,325 in wealth; and the typical white household had $113,149.
Of course, there's no need to discuss why or how these insane disparities took place since Mo Brooks might view such talk as part of a liberal, socialist conspiracy. The Tea Party can sleep easy tonight knowing that despite a war on white people, white Americans make 20 times more than blacks and Hispanics.
Finally, is Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom (a white male) waging a war on white people by advocating the legalization of same-sex marriages? I'm a white guy, but I voted for Obama twice, does that make me less white than Mo Brooks? Who allowed the Tea Party to define being white?
Sadly, it's the Tea Party that has utilized race as a way of circumventing making political concessions to issues important to minority voters and subjects, like climate change, that affect all Americans. Rep. Brooks and Tea Party lawmakers should worry less about conspiracies and more about reaching out to a broader base of American voters. Congress and Obama's administration are both overwhelmingly white, and wealth in this country is overwhelmingly held by white Americans, so fears of a "war" are simply ludicrous and overtly racist.
Follow H. A. Goodman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/HAGOODMANAUTHOR