To express my heartfelt gratitude for old white men, let me look no further than my own sweet father. He is 73, which I suppose makes him old-ish by young people standards. My dad is, hands down, one of my favorite people in the whole world. He is quite traditional in many ways, one might even go so far as to say conservative on some issues, but politically speaking, he is a fairly rabid liberal.
My father doesn’t get upset easily. I would guess his heart rate has hovered at around 50 beats per minute for most of his life under most circumstances, ranging from playing golf to arguing with me when I was a teenager. The stupidity and hypocrisy of certain right-wing politicians is one of the few things that readily comes to mind when I picture my father jumping ship emotionally, and it is usually related to issues of personal freedoms and/or environmental policy.
After the election, I was thrilled to see the voters of our great diverse United States of America rejecting the idea that we should continue to be governed primarily by conservative old white men. So thrilled in fact, that I posted a link to a blog post written by Mark Morford, titled “Twilight of the old white guys” which was an enthusiastic endorsement of the election outcome written by a guy who describes himself in the post as a “not wildly young, indo-European white guy“. I also made a comment after Obama was re-elected about Romney’s post-election comments and his inability to really understand why he lost and how this will cause him, and others like him, to become politically obsolete.
Is it really revolutionary to imagine that a government “of the people, by the people and for the people” actually look like the people it is representing: black, white, gay, straight, male, female, et al.? Last time I checked, this country had a few more women in its population than it did men, and I’m pretty sure that the number of older white male politicians is disproportionate to the actual percentage of older white male American citizens.
Overall, I’ve been heartened to notice that most, if not ALL, of the white men I know, like my father, are great supporters of this kind of societal change and the push towards a more representative government. Perhaps it is a relief to feel less singularly responsible for tackling the plethora of major problems our country faces, or perhaps they are not threatened because they are secure enough to see themselves as an integral and important part of it all. Diverse voices and perspectives are crucial in creating a balanced, healthy society.
This all seems rather self-evident to me, so I was a bit taken aback to receive a personal message on Facebook from a male high school friend that started “What does your father think about your demeaning comments toward ‘old white men‘?” I paused, tried to think of what comments he could be referring to, took a deep breath and responded “Duh. He totally agrees. Don’t get it, do you? They aren’t demeaning.” The conversation basically devolved to him accusing me of “Wanting an entire race to die out” and telling me I should “Move to another country“at which point I decided to cut my losses, un-friend him and block him.
It wasn’t the first time he and I had gone ’round about politics, but his insults and comments were getting personal, and quite frankly I don’t have any more time or energy to devote to these conversations with him. I have better things to do. Like taking time to appreciate my dad and the many other old white men that I surround myself with daily who understand that it is not disrespectful to them or their race to relish a more diverse government.