The first draft of my novel 2084 (set in 2044) contained the Preamble to the New Covenant for America. On July 4, 2035, Congress had replaced the Constitution. A recent New York Times article cautioned that this may be less fiction than forecast.

The Preamble read in part: We the People of the former United States, in Order to . . . provide for the common Defense against those who would subvert our . . . long-established Western Culture, promote the Welfare of those descended by birth and heritage from its Founders and secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Chosen Posterity, do ordain and establish this New Covenant for America . . . with the Express Purpose of making Our Nation Great yet again under the Sovereignty of Our Lord Jesus Christ and a reborn Covenantal States of America.

Could this happen—and in this decade? America’s political rift represents less policy disagreements—on these, compromise can bridge gaps—than social issues. The Times deals with one of the latter. It’s dangerous. 

As always, America is changing. In 1950, nearly 10 million people worked on farms. By then, the U.S. long had become an industrial—and urban—nation. In 2000, the number of farmworkers dropped to scarcely more than three million.

Cities also underwent continual alteration. Before World War One, Harlem (my father lived there) was the world’s third-largest Jewish community after Warsaw, Poland (my father’s birthplace) and New York’s Lower East Side (my mother lived there). Following World War Two, Americans migrated to the suburbs then the Sun Belt. Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis and other eastern and northern cities shrank. Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas and San Jose vaulted to America’s 10 largest. 

The nation’s ethnic makeup keeps changing. In about 20 years, white Americans will lose their majority status. Many in this shrinking demographic wish to reverse the irreversible through a power grab.

Cue the Times’ “Their America is Vanishing. Like Trump, They Insist They Were Cheated.”

The article spotlights Fort Bend County, Texas, bordering Houston. “The county in recent years has become one of the nation’s most diverse, where the former white majority has fallen to just 30 percent of the population.” 

Many Fort Bend Republicans believe that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. No surprise. “A shrinking white share of the population is a hallmark of the congressional districts held by the House Republicans who voted to challenge Mr. Trump’s defeat . . .”

According to the Times, whites in such districts and counties have lower educational and income levels. Life in the Heartland has not improved. Whites are frightened—and angry. This motivates support for Donald Trump. 

According to Ashley Jardina of George Mason University, “A lot of white Americans who are really threatened are willing to reject democratic norms . . . because they see it as a way to protect their status.”

Not all Republicans and Trump voters are racists. Not all are white. But many white Americans, including Christian nationalists, believe they have a right—a duty—to overturn democracy in response to changing demographics.

Why am I concerned? The signers of the New Covenant left me—and millions of others—out of “We the people.” Will fact soon follow fiction?

Order Lola Flores in softcover or e-book from Amazonbarnesandnoble.com or your favorite bookstore.

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  1. Tracy on November 4, 2022 at 4:55 pm

    I’m not sure if we are at a tipping point or not. But it seems like this sort of racism has been part of American fabric for a long time. The original plot map to my house (it was built in 1923) shows a Notice of Special Restrictions that excluded “persons of color” from living in the neighborhood. Included in this definition were “negroes, orientals, jews, italians, and irish.” White America has always been threatened by other cultures. Replacement Theory is the next logical step for these folks. It’s depressing, but a small silver lining I take from it is that at least people like Ye and Kyrie Irving are saying the silent part out loud.

    “I have more respect for a man who lets me know where he stands, even if he’s wrong. Than the one who comes up like an angel and is nothing but a devil.”
    ― Malcolm X

    Shabbat Shalom.

    • David Perlstein on November 4, 2022 at 5:38 pm

      Tipping point? Who knows? It is true, Tracy, that antisemitism and racism have been part of the fabric of American life since our founding. I mentioned this in last week’s post, “Are Jews Close to Boiling?”

      The downside of people coming out publicly with their hatred is that it spreads rapidly, particularly in the age of the Internet and social media. That hatred can, and does, lead to violence.

      Where the nation goes remains to be seen.

      Shabbat Shalom!

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