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St. Paul Whiteout: The Audacity of Hype


Guest Blogger • Sep 07, 2008

By Rev. David Ostendorf

Midwest winters bring the occasional, dreaded, dangerous whiteout—wind-driven snow so heavy, thick, and intense that you can’t see the road ahead. To get caught in one is to lose your bearings in a universe of whiteness and wind and closed roads, hoping against hope that you’ll come out of it to see another day.

Until this week in St. Paul whiteouts have not been known to occur in September. While there was occasional snowfall and wind last week as the Ds gathered in Denver, the R conventioneers have given new meaning to whiteness and wind.

While folk of color were few, as expected (5% Hispanic, 2 % African American), it was the sheer audacity of hype—white elites and power brokers vividly portraying themselves as victims and outsiders—that really defined the R gathering.

Millionaires who see themselves as the put-upon middle class. Decades-serving Senators railing against broken Washington. Candidates castigating media controlled by corporations that fill their coffers. Feeders at the federal trough railing against earmarks and high taxes. Lavish lobbyists spreading lush tables to speakers playing the change card. Advocates for post-partisanship pumping untold millions to vicious Rove-riders. Faithful whose gospel of prosperity trumps the poor. Rich clamoring to fix the economy they broke. Patriots brokering no dissent.

Hypocrisy abounded. Hype was bodacious.

The wind blew, the snow flew. Roads ahead closed. Whiteout.

In a nation shaken by seismic demographic change, a weakening economy, an empire disintegrating, power and privilege seeks to prevail. Those in charge of the meandering ship will say and do anything to cling to power. Anything.

Curious, isn’t it, that when power fades due to excessive overuse it’s a brownout. And when power goes, it’s a blackout.

That’s really the overriding fear among so many white folk—that the nation will go brown and black. When that happens even the fierce St. Paul whiteout of 2008 will be remembered as a mere passing storm.

In fact, the roads ahead are already clearing, the snow has melted, the winds subsided.

Time to move forward full speed toward the new day.

*Why do you think more white people attended the Republican National Convention? – Take our latest poll and tell us what you think.

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