No one wants to feel invisible, unworthy, unappreciated and, worse, unheard. Certainly, no politician wants to exile potential voters by castigating them as deplorable. Yet the liberal establishment has done this to a swath of white Americans who are not racist, just feeling ostracized and deprived of their place in this society. Not a supreme place but a rightful place. A place that recognizes them and their struggles. A place that acknowledges past achievements but does not levy blame on current generations for past mistakes.
I may not sympathize with those who believe that they have been sacrificed on the altar of diversity, equity, and political correctness. I may not sympathize with those who can’t understand that a society like ours cannot thrive in a zero-sum environment. We have to find a way for everyone to win enough and not to lose more than a fair share. Otherwise, we are at the mercy of social Darwinism, the law of the jungle, the survival of the luckiest—but not necessarily the fittest!
However, I can empathize. Just as, to name a few, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, Asians, Blacks, women, gay, and transgender people have pushed back against oppression to claim their identity and value, so too have many who identify as white Americans. I get it, even if I don’t personally subscribe to identity politics, it is the reality of today’s culture wars. It underpins our divisions and fractures our unity.
Don’t scoff at their feelings; don’t castigate them for their pain. Feelings are real and have real consequences on behavior. Instead, validate the right of all to be proud and part of this nation, build bridges of understanding, and recognize everyone’s contributions.
A house divided cannot stand.