Sunday, November 9, 2008

What Has Changed... 1928-1968, 1968-2008

Before 1928 no Roman Catholic had ever run for President. The nomination of Alfred E Smith
the Governor of New York ushered in a new America. The America of White Ethnics, Catholics, Jews and Labor Unions.

There would never have been FDR without Alfred E Smith. Most Americans today do not know who Smith was but he was essential to the America that came later. Before Smith most progressives came from the country like William Jennings Bryan after Smith they came from places like New York and Chicago.

From Smith's nomination until August of 1968, forty years the New Deal coalition of Catholics, Jews, Working Class Workers, Poor Southerners, Blacks and Intellectuals dominated American politics. On the streets of Grant Park that coalition was destroyed. Southerners and most Catholics left the Democrats and for the next 40 years they voted for Republicans. The Nixon-Reagan coalition was almost unbeatable.

Alfred E Smith was done in by bigotry and hatred of Catholics. The Republican coalition was done in by the Bigotry of the Republicans toward immigrants somewhere Al Smith is smiling.
It has been discovered that a huge amount of Hispanic and other Immigrants and their families voted for Barack Obama. The hatred of Immigrants by the Republicans and their allies has created a new coalition. One that Al Smith would recognize and feel right at home in again.

On Tuesday a new coalition was born. Barack Obama, African, Irish, son of immigrants, Chicagoan, Hawaiian, has created a new world. In many way Obama has done another thing he has made it impossible to demonize people for their skin color in national elections and for this he is a world changer.

Silvio Berlusconi the president of Italy made a racist remark about Obama being tanned. While 'the knight' is a moron he does embody a kind of bigotry that is rampant in many places where culture is equated with race. (Europe, China, Japan, Korea other places). My family comes from the north of Italy in Brescia and in the little town where my mom is from a person like Barack Obama is very alien. In Chicago my hometown in America Barack Obama is our favorite son.

That says something about America doesn't it?


Jennifer said...

I don't want to hijack your post, but I'm trying very hard to find someone in Chicago from your family's region in Italy. I'd like to learn a bit of the dialect spoken there... please let me know if you might know anyone interested.

(here's my CL post on the topic --

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