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Not a "demographic shift"

Reader comment on item: Michael Oren Interviewed by Daniel Pipes

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Jul 2, 2015 at 08:10

Two years of importance were mentioned during Michael's comments: 1967 and 2008. The latter year was when Obama was elected; and when so many changes happened -- the most significant of which was the souring of US-Israeli relations. That collapse had a domino effect in mistrust and poor US relations with countries across the world. 1967, of course, was the year of the great Israeli victory over its Arab neighbors, a victory that the world has tried ever since to undo.

Michael mentioned his "Rip Van Winkle" experience around 2008, when he realized that the United States of approximately 1967 no longer existed. He attributed this, as do the talking heads on places like PBS, to a "demographic shift" in America. This was not a demographic shift. The US did admit several million immigrants during the intervening 41 years, most of them Mexicans; but the change in values among American whites that led to the election of Obama was not caused by the Mexicans: It was caused by a generational changing of the guard among white Baby Boomers.

I am such a "Boomer". The period from around 1967 to 1973 was a transformative period in my life personally, as well as for America. Before that time, for instance, there were Civil Rights protest marches. During that time, the accepted way to bring about social change became riots and reprisals. The Vietnam War, which was arguably America's most disastrous war, disrupted US life and policy; but nobody's lives were disrupted more than my own generation. During those years, US college students, etc. became exposed to marijuana; but most US Vietnam soldiers were exposed to opium and heroin. Communal living, the Jesus Movement, the Jews for Jesus, and a seeming rush in our parents' generation toward divorce led to a tremendous rift in American society.

Why, then, did Michael's "Rip Van Winkle" experience happen in 2008 instead of 1967? Because it took those 41 years in between, for Baby Boomers to become the dominant forces in politics, the media and the universities.

It's curious, Michael's mention of the vision Obama seems to have of what constitutes a "proper Israeli Jew". He said that this mythical creatures was a "pre-1967" Israeli Jew, that was supposed to be more liberal than Jews of the succeeding generation. True, the Israeli Labor Party's forerunner, Mapai, dominatied Israeli politics before then, and Likud has become dominant since then. From Obama's point of view, though, this is irrelevant; because he was still a kindergartener in Indonesia during the Mapai days, quite oblivious to anything happening in the Middle East.

When I was a boy, there was no such thing as "whites" and "blacks". Where I lived, there were Pollacks and Germans; and on the other side of town there wasa small community of Negroes. What's more, Yankees and Southerners looked at each other as aliens from another planet. I knowingly met my first Protestant in ninth grade, and my first Jew (outside of our family doctor) in my twenties. It was the Civil Rights Act, and its corollaries over the years, that made us into a country of "whites", "blacks" and "hispanics". The Vietnam War also did its bit -- I first got to know a black man in basic training, where I also was confronted with a Puerto Rican drill instructor.

In 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first Negro Justice of the Supreme Court. The Court during the period 1967-73, when so many landmark changed happened, was nearly all white and Protestant; now it is Catholic and Jewish. So what did a "demographic shift" have to do with court decisions? the "Old Guard" Warren Court banned prayer in public school, legalized abortion, and gave us "affirmative action".; but the Catholics and Jews of today's Court have reversed some of those decisions. The "demographic shift", therefore, seems to have been one step back for two steps forward by our granparents.

The "demographic shift" among whites wasn't what it's called: We weren't invaded by an army of "new whites", say, from Mexico, who changed the married vs. single ratios in US families. In fact, our newest wave of immigrants have some of the highest family values of all Americans. This "demographic" shift, in fact, was a "moral" or "values" shift among whites, brought about in no small measure by the broken homes, drugs and promiscuity that ravaged the country in the years around 1970.

This is the shift that gave Michael Oren his "Rip Van Winkle" experience, and the shift we are having to deal with in a President who has tossed into the garbage the values and protocols of previous generations.


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