A close friend warned me that I have a habit of “tossing pebbbles into the water to enjoy wathcing the ripples they produce.” I see that my piece on the “New Majority” has done this.

I am fascinated by the reaction to what should have been seen as a sarcastic blast dripping with my well-known perverse sense of humor. I place the reaction into several catagories.

Politics.

The astute politician would look at the results of the election to see where there is need for work. In this case President Obama’s highly successful “rainbow” coalition should examine why it failed to capture an important voting block, old white men. It should seek ways to bring these voters on board. And this is not just a moot question, but a reality, since the president faces a obdurate body of old white men in the Congress who he needs to bring over to his bold new plan for a better and more prosperous America. Simply dismissing this group as “grumpy old racists” will guarantee continued gridlock in Washington.

Economics.

Most in the “rainbow” coalition complain that the grumpy old racist white men have not followed the government’s lead in reviving the moribund economy to provide sufficient, well paid, quality jobs. They complain that these “captains of industry, owners of wealth, and financial robber barons” are sitting on the sidelines leaving the “noble” public sector alone to fight the evil dragon of recession. Of course, if you have to fight alone when controlling 25% of the economy, you are hardly alone.

Telling my “New Minority” to take its marbles and retreat to its refuge is not likely to enlist it in the crusade. By all accounts, those implementing the Feds’ lead in saving the economy believe that they will fail if they cannot get the rich old white boys to join them. So the more prudent course of action would be to examine why this group does not share your vision for the future and explore ways to encourage their particiption. The convenient threat to take the funds away through higher taxes is senseless since they  will simply follow Warren Buffet’s methods to insure one pays less taxes than his secretary.

Racism.

Tossing around the racist label does nothing to encourage inclusion and participation. On a more personal level I would urge those who brand me with this label to recall what every schoolboy in America knows, the modern Ku Klux Klan, of which some have said I am a card carrying member or at least a kindred spirit, was born not in the old Confederacy but in heartland America, Indiana. And while it continued to eschew blacks, the stimulus for its rebirth was the massive wave of immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries of swarthy, dark, papist troglodytes from Southern Europe, mainly Italy. The high point of the “New Klan” was a march down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, the same route President Obama will take in his second inauguration. The main feature of the parade was a huge coffin with the sign, “Put a nail in the coffin for the Pope.” The anti-immigration campaign of the Klan was successful, it was the main force in getting the US Congress to adopt our first quotas on immigration that were clearly constructed to keep out Italians. Thank God my grandparents got in before the door was slammed shut.

While I did not face the legal discrimination against blacks, I did suffer the cultural and societal discrimination expressed in such charming terms as being called “guinea, wop, greaseball” and worse. I knew young ladies whose parents would not let them date me. I had to laugh off accusations of being a member of the Mafia or the sterotype of being good at sports and dancing. Yes, not the criminal discrimination leveled against blacks, but the more subtle discrimination that cannot be changed by law.

The joke was that I could have easily avoided this by adopting my mother’s maiden name, Brown, which her family had anglicized in the 19th century from the German, Braun, to avoid the subtle discrimination then against “krautheads.”

And for those who call me racist I will be happy to provide them a list of very successful Ethiopians and black South Africans who will be glad to attest to my treating all people with equal distain and arrogance.