I am sitting in a B&B in Williamsburg on Boxing Day watching the snow fall. Visiting Williamsburg at Christmas is to take a walk back in time. It is a reminder of when our nation was not a nation, rather 13 Colonies and later States searching for a model of self government.
My reflections on the past were interrupted by reading the headlines, which even at this Christmas time, reflect the heated rhetoric of the 111th Congress. Rhetoric of division, rhetoric that reflects a great cultural and sectional divide in our nation.
This past week the preliminary results of the decennial census were released. The South and West gained seats while the North and Mid-west lost seats. The Republicans grinned with glee, as they would be the beneficiaries of the upcoming decennial gerrymandering of Congressional and state district lines. For Democrats in the South, they are now the minority party. Pundits were quick to say wait a minute, long term demographic trends favor Democrats because the population growth among in the south and west was among minorities. While granted the GOP in the South looks a lot like the old Democratic solid south, in some respects it is beginning to change by attracting both Hispanic and African American conservatives.
The Democratic Party is increasingly the party of elites. Not the old money elites, or old family elites, rather elites who by their superior education believe they alone have the answers to our problems. Elites who are concentrated along the two coasts, cloistered in their academic ivory towers and media centers and who ignore any views but those from their fellow elites.
The solid Democratic South is no more and the Democratic party is now on life support. For the Republicans though the results should also have concern as their strength is primarily in the south and mid-west. But more importantly they have potential divisions in their coalition between fiscal, social, and libertarians.
As I reflect on the present, I must wonder if the leaders of either party have the wisdom of those who gathered in the colonial capital of Williamsburg? I think not.