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Wineke: GOP needs to respect minorities

Published On: Nov 12 2012 08:03:22 AM CST   Updated On: Nov 12 2012 09:15:28 AM CST

I don’t customarily pay attention to right-wing talk shows. I consider them to be mostly devoid of reality.

But, given the results of the election, I did wonder what Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly might have to say about things. For all I knew, they were going to proclaim victory.

Not quite. They all admitted their side lost the election. The reason why, they said, is that the country is no longer white; it now makes room for all sorts of people of color and those people of color want “stuff.”

Uncle Sam is Santa Claus, Limbaugh asserts. Latinos want “stuff” and the Democrats are most likely to provide it, O’Reilly agrees.

Numerous right-wing blog postings quote Alex de Tocqueville saying that democracy is doomed since it "can only exist until voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. . ."

Actually, there is no evidence de Tocqueville ever said that and, even if he had, recent evidence suggests that it is the very rich who vote themselves tax breaks from the public treasury. But the quote sounds good.

But it is a common thread among the right. Obama won reelection because minorities want goodies and don’t want to work.

There is a problem with this line of reasoning, however, and if I were a Republican leader I would be terrified by it.

Asian Americans favored Obama over Governor Romney by a three-to-one margin.

Think about the implications of that for a moment. If there is one group type-cast in our imaginations as being hard-working, willing to live in hovels so their children can go to Harvard, job-creating small business a entrepreneurs, it is the Asians.

And, while you are thinking about the implications of the Asian tilt toward Democrats, take another moment and think about our stereotypes of Latinos.

What do we think of when we think of people the Republicans call the "illegals?"  We think of people climbing tall fences and risking death on the desert in order to find jobs building homes or landscaping golf courses.

And the African Americans? Romney spent part of his campaign trying to convince us that Obama wanted to take them out of their jobs and give them welfare, which, of course was a lie. But when I see someone doing a really miserable task, that person tends not to be white.

I suppose I shouldn’t speak for minority groups, but it does seem to me that what they want is not “stuff” but respect. Respect for being a valuable part of the United States of America.

Unless the Republicans find a way to convey that respect (actually having respect might be good first step), they will never win elections.

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