White displacement is slow but real. White folk can either fight it or welcome our non-white successors with trust and optimism. Rather than filling integrated swimming pools with dirt, deliberately breaking up minority families, denying broad swathes of citizens their constitutional rights, throwing up barriers to education, health care and justice and perversely deploying our institutions to maintain a perpetual underclass, we should be working to transmit the highest of our values to those who will one day run this country and populate its legislatures and courts. By railing against the inevitable with invective, violence, and lies — hoping that these will negate a reality that many white people unreasonably fear — we guarantee a tragic end to America’s experiment in adaptive democratic governance.
Instead, we should be delivering the truth to ourselves and sharing our opportunities with disadvantaged Americans and with those crying to become Americans. It’s like parenting: How we
conduct ourselves becomes the model for the next generation. Being good people is a constant struggle against the dark impulses of human nature. All the more so when we have already institutionalized the worst elements of our nature in an economic system that results in the aggregation of power in the wrong hands for the wrong purposes.
William Golding wrote about this struggle in Lord of the Flies where young lads landing on a desert island quickly invent a democracy but fail to maintain it. He argues that any open and democratic society is in danger of disintegration. Without constant vigilance and stout defenses, it will break apart under assault by lurking opportunists. The flies swarming over a severed pig’s head in Golding’s story are mindless agents of their own nature. Consider that a biblical name for Satan translates as “lord of the flies,” or mindless human nature.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle Letter to the Editor 4/16/21