Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The trumpet of American brotherhood is not a dog whistle for racists

What is your take on the recent rioting in Milwaukee, and the speech that Donald Trump delivered?
The sheriff of Milwaukee County -- David Clarke

David Pence: Mr. Trump said, "Crime and violence are attacks on the poor." That is exactly how a public man should talk about organized riots and the daily criminality. We obviously need an entirely different discussion about race and crime in America. Trump’s remarks and Sheriff Clarke's approach are hopefully a beginning -- a very different beginning from what we have heard before. In that one speech, Mr. Trump said more about civic order and the Democratic party’s relation to blacks and crime than any Republican in my lifetime. Sheriff Clarke is a remarkable American guardian angel. He talks from his soul. All men -- black, brown, and white -- should tune our souls to hear his fatherly and fraternal message. Mr. Trump can’t say everything that needs to be said, but he has opened a door for a much more profound discussion by the rest of us. Trump is the most urban presidential candidate we have seen in a lifetime; it clearly makes a big difference in how he sees the world. When Ted Cruz denigrated "New York values," Trump immediately talked about firemen. That is an urban builder’s mentality whose sense of government is shaped by local public works departments. Mr. Cruz and a lot of suburban Republicans were stunned to see their talking point turned against them.

Will the failure of Democratic politicians, in places such as Chicago, to keep their cities safe eventually cost them their hegemony?

Pence: Urban Democrats are pretty tribal. A forceful male figure could rise in any city to point a new way. I think it is just as likely that he will be a new-style Democrat breaking from the corruption of "Clinton Democrats." The Democrats need their own Donald Trump to force them to represent urban black men and manual laborers again. A new kind of city man invested in protecting his community and providing for his family is the kind of personality which needs to emerge. That is precisely the personality that cultural feminism has suppressed in the Democratic Party coalition that rules our inner cities. Gay parades display their male urban culture. Advancing women in the Supreme Court, US military, and governmental offices is their signature achievement. Black males (or as Hillary says: "men off the reservation") have been left behind in the diversity racket. Feminists got the Supreme Court, and inner-city black males got Al Sharpton. It may actually turn out that a male Democrat will explain this best.  

Regardless of whether Mr. Trump prevails in November, how do you see the future of the coalition of black and white workingmen?

Pence: Sheriff Clarke says the police used to be seen as "protectors and guardians." Well, so did men. Until the black men of America see themselves again as guardians, they will not respect and honor the armed men who do that every day in law enforcement. We need to reassert the shared male identity as protectors which binds black and white men as fellow countrymen. The policemen are the officer corps of the larger civic body of male protectors. That is the classic idea of American citizenship in the frontier town as well as the Puritan city. This is a project for Christian ministers as well as civic leaders. Christian and civic brotherhood is a huge untapped reservoir of good will and social capital. The ideology of the sexual revolution, along with political correctness, has blocked a Christian American revival which could tie men across the color line in a shared brotherhood of protecting and providing. This sensibility would hit our cities like a tsunami of the Spirit! Christian American men need to converge on the cities and have our own "riots of the Spirit" which break out in brotherhood.

When you say Christian America and Christian  nationalist, is that your white-boy KKK dog whistle?

from 'The Forward'

Pence: I learned about Christian nationalism from John Kennedy and Martin Luther King. They were the two men in my youth who most often cross-quoted the Christian Bible and America’s founding documents. In their powerful masculine and biblical rhetoric they said if we are to be loyal as Christians to the Bible and Americans to the Constitution and Declaration, then we had better act as brothers and fellow citizens. Christianity and American citizenship are two collective identities which overcome racial hatred and suspicion with brotherly love and civic friendship. They are the solution, not the problem. When the diversity industry traded in the loving language of the Christian civil-rights movement for the hatred of Black Power and resentment of feminism, we all got a bad deal. Crime is a male problem -- and Christian nationalism is a strategy for male socialization. In one way, race relations have worsened in the last few years. But at a deeper level, there has never been such agreement among Americans to move beyond skin color and affirm our foundational loyalties: fellow men, fellow Christians, fellow Americans. Donald Trump may not articulate this, but he has opened space in the public forum for distinctly masculine Christian patriots to sound a trumpet which is no dog whistle.

Rev. King visiting the president with other civil rights leaders

Dr. David Pence was editor of 'City Fathers' from 1998 to 2002. The magazine was about Religion, Men, and Urban Politics based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

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