Updated: Jan 20, 2019
I'm a white male.
If you're not either of those things---white or male---I'd like to share my heart with you if you have a moment.
First, a few things to note:
I'm the husband to an incredible woman who loves me well, and the father to two kiddos that amaze and frustrate me on a daily basis.
I'm not rich, but I'm not poor either.
By most people's definition, I'm, for the most part, comfortably middle class.
I like binge watching Madam Secretary with my wife, and after everyone is in bed, I spend more time than is probably productive playing Stardew Valley and Mario Kart on my Nintendo Switch.
As much as possible, I try to do three things daily: read, write, and love my family well.
If you had to put me in a political box, I'm probably a semi-conservative, economically-libertarian, responsible-freedom-is-good type of guy.
I have voted exactly two times in my 35 years on this planet:
1) 2008 for John McCain. My decision was based on McCain's political experience and little else. I was 24 making $15/hr. Most real political issues weren't anywhere in my field of vision. McCain was the only box I checked. I left the rest of the ballot blank.
2) 2018 mid-terms. I voted for public education, which meant a balance of Rep/Dem candidates at all levels within Texas.
My historical view on voting has typically been "I live in a red county in a red state and my vote (technically) doesn't matter regardless of how I vote."
While in the grand scheme of things part of me still has that belief, I'm much more aware of local elections now, and most likely, those alone will get me into the polls from here on out.
I say all of that to provide a little personal context to what follows.
On Monday morning, I was browsing the President's Twitter feed. This isn't something I have done with any regular frequency---at all, actually---until the government shutdown started.
And the only reason I started was because it's actually kind of amazing how often the President tweets. He has more tweets than Katy Perry, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Lebron James, and Adele...combined. Over twice as many tweets as Ellen, three times Jimmy Fallon's count.
I mean, regardless of your political beliefs, the sheer amount of tweets that come from his account is pretty remarkable.
As I flicked through the President's numerous tweets, I stumbled upon this:
While we no doubt could discuss a great many things from within this one tweet, what drew my attention to this particular tweet is the phrase "will not go gentle into that good night."
That is a line from a Dylan Thomas poem.
As a former English teacher who actually taught a lesson on this specific Thomas poem, this line flooded my brain with a series of questions: - Did the President just quote a poem? - Has the President actually read that poem? - Maybe he misquoted President Whitmore from Independence Day? - Why is Buchanan's name in there randomly? - Is he calling Buchanan out? - Is it Buchanan's quote?
I was confused.
So I did a little digging, and apparently he was quoting Buchanan.
Now, I wouldn't know Pat Buchanan if he knocked on my door and handed me a check for a million dollars. I recognize his name from various documentaries on the 60s and 70s, and the only real connection my brain makes with him is Nixon (or maybe it was Reagan?) and the Republican party.
I read Buchanan's article.
It was then that I was able to learn so much more about Buchanan.
It was then that I decided that the sort of ideology that Buchanan and people like him put out into the world requires a rebuttal.
And that rebuttal should come from a white male.
Pause for a moment:
Before I get into the specifics, let me say this: I have no intentions of making an argument regarding what the tweeting of Buchanan's article does (or does not) say about the President.
I've found that at this point in our history, with our massively polarized politics, such debates just fall on deaf ears, regardless of your beliefs.
If you're reading this, you most likely have your views of the President. Positive. Negative. It doesn't matter. You're not going to read an acknowledgement or dismissal of your views in this post.
You're also not going to read an argument for or against "the wall," for or against the government shutdown, or for or against anything else related to the most recent current events surrounding the President, our representatives, Brexit, Russia, or Jason Garrett.
If you wanted something else...
...sorry, not sorry.
Here's what Buchanan had to say in his article on Sunday:
"Trump should declare a national emergency, shift funds out of the Pentagon, build his wall, open the government and charge Democrats with finding excuses not to secure our border because they have a demographic and ideological interest in changing the face of the nation.
The more multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual America becomes — the less it looks like Ronald Reagan's America — the more dependably Democratic it will become.
The Democratic Party is hostile to white men, because the smaller the share of the U.S. population that white men become, the sooner that Democrats inherit the national estate.
The only way to greater "diversity," the golden calf of the Democratic Party, is to increase the number of women, African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics, and thereby reduce the number of white men."
For some people reading this, I'm going to need you to do me a favor:
Listen. To. Me.
We, and with that "we" I very specifically and very intentionally mean WHITE and MALES, do not, emphasis on the DO and the NOT, all feel or think or act or believe like this particular white man does.
And while I could easily, and at great length, deconstruct and destroy the views expressed in those four short paragraphs, that is not my purpose here today.
Responding to statements like this with any sort of animosity will only stoke the flames of discontent in our country, and I think the embers are hot enough at this moment.
No, my hope today is that I can simply reassure.
I'd like to reassure everyone that is not white, or not a man, or not a white man, that you are loved.
You are loved not IN SPITE of your race or ethnicity or gender or culture or language.
You are loved BECAUSE of those things.
To steal some of Buchanan's phrasing: I believe that the more multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual America becomes, the more INCREDIBLE it becomes.
And I believe, and to some extent know, that I am not flying solo in these beliefs.
I am not the sole white male who is genuinely fascinated and enthralled by the languages and cultures of people who don't look like me.
While the remnants of discontent with the last election has continued to magnify the thoughts and beliefs of a hateful few, and the power of the internet and the 24/7 news cycle has continued to provide a platform for what seems like a constant stream of nonsense, you must understand that this sort of ridiculousness does not represent the views and values of all white males, or for that matter, even conservative white males.
At best Buchanan's statements represent a genuine concern that an increase in the number of liberal-leaning constituents could mean the loss of conservative representation. At worst, it's a clear belief that anyone not white and not male is a lesser human that should be walled off from society.
I could at least credit the best case scenario as die hard (very poorly worded) allegiance.
But the worst...
When such views morph into an ideology that has at its core a belief that only a certain race and a certain gender know what's best for this country, then the only thing being "conserved" is hate and disdain.
Anyone who has ever worked with me knows this about me: I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.
I've used the phrase "assume good intentions" so many times I've lost count.
I genuinely believe the vast majority of people want to do good.
Yes, we'll disagree on any number of issues, but at the end of the day, I believe more people than not want to do good to and for others.
But in this specific instance, the good is non-existent.
So in response, to my non-white, non-male, non-white male friends out there, let me reiterate:
You are loved for and because of everything that you are.
The "changing face of this nation" is beautiful, and that is because it has you in it. The "national estate" does not belong to men that look like me, but instead it is here for all of us to sow our multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual seeds so that we can blossom into a nation that is truly representative of the people that inhabit it.