and made mone’, to the bourgeois values of the GOP.rnBoth strategics were successful, to the point of stalemate, untilrnFranklin Roosexelt made the big breakthrough of co-ophngrnblacks b- promising—and delivering—more goodies than thernRepublicans had done in over 50 ears. This naturalK’ introducedrna strain into the Southern tier of the Democrac}’, but sornlong as white polihcians maintained political and social control,rnthc- could afford to go along to get along.rnHubert Humphrey unraveled the skein: He could not resistrnthe temptahon to pidl just that one thread, insisting on an antisegrcgahonrnplank in the 1948 Democratic platform. The resultrnwas the insurgencv of the Dixiecrats, who failed to kick Harr’rn’Frnman out of the White House; in the long rrm, though,rnHumphrc’s brilliant mancuxer ensured that, in the South, thernDemocratic Parti,- would become the black part}- and the Republicansrnwould take over the white ‘ote.rnThe effect on the South was tremendous. PoliticalK’ activernSoutherners who had alwavs defined diemselves by dicir contemptrnfor Yankee WASPs were suddenly forced to make commonrncause with Eisenhower and, later, with the Goldwaterites,rnand the- final!}’ ended up selling their futures entirely to RonaldrnReagan. They could no longer think of themselves as Southernrnfirst, because “Soutiicrn” also meant the race-obsessed Marxistsrnof tire Democratic Part}’, hi reconciling themselves to NewrnEngland and the Midwest, they became genericallv Americanrn—which is why Southern Republicans cannot, by andrnlarge, be counted on to defend the Confederate flag.rnFor the foreseeable future, American political contests willrnbe a bidding war between tire two parties for the support ofrnMexican and Asian interests, hr tiie short run, at least, the Democratsrnwill pick up most of die new votes: Unlike the Republicans,rntlie have a solid record of delivering on their corruptrnpromises, and since what is left of WASP America is still arnsource of irritation for fliird- and fourth-generation Europeanrnethnics, we can onl’ imagine how the eountry-chd^ Republicansrnmust strike Cambodian- and Honduran-Americans. ThernRepublicans can only get in on the action bv plaving off flicrnnew minorities against the iAriean-Americans (who are sure tornbe portra’ed as the source of all trouble) and bv selling outrnwhatever is left of tiie principles fliey have been abandoning forrn50} ears. The GOP is like one of those carpet stores that survivernon a never-ending sequence of “Going Out of Business” sales.rnNothing in this should interest a decent human being wliorndoes not earn his living from politics —a contradiction in tenns.rn’I’he future of America-or whatever part of the eountr}- has arndistinctivelv American future—belongs to us, the nonpoliticalrnpeople who take care of our fiimilics as best we can, pav our taxesrngrudginglv, and prav the praver of the publican.rnApart from doing our best to lead decent and liappv lives andrnpass on something to our children, w hat can wc do? We can beginrnh f;ieing flie fact diat the America wc tiionght we knew isrngone and cannot be resurrected. The new regime is bent on dcstrovingrnflie relics of our civilization, stripping away the last vestigesrnof human dignih’ and political libertv, killing babies andrnfeeding dicir stem cells to rich people who want to live forever.rnPlease do not waste anv more precious time worrving aboutrnwhctiier a liberal gets elected to Congress in place of a wholesome,rnfamilv-values conservative like Garv Gondit or OrrinrnHatch. The conntrv as a wliole cannot be saved, nor is therernan Anglo-American region that can survive the onslaught.rnThere are saKageable pockets in the South, but the South as arnwhole is represented by its political leaders: Bill Clinton, AlrnGore, Trent Lott. Enough said.rnBut witiiin flic Soufli (and witiiin other regions), flicrc arernplaces worth saving, religious and ethnic communities wherernpeople might circle the wagons and make a stand. I reeentivrnspent several davs in Quebec and over a week in “Acadiana,”rnand I was impressed b}’ tiic resistance shown by Qucbcckcrsrnand Cajuns. Botii places have peculiar cidturcs —cuisine, religion,rnfolkwavs, literature—that are reinforced by a distinctivernlanguage, hi Quebec, at least, French is in the ascendant, andrnin Louisiana, although few Cajuns mv’ age can speak the languagernin anv form, oungcr people arc learning some French inrnschool. Compared with ten }cars ago, when there probabK’rnwere more people who had been brought up speaking Frenchrnat home, tiiere sccnis to be more French spoken on the street.rnPerhaps it is the success of flicir cuisine and their music, butrnCajiuis might be poised for a genuine cultural comeback.rnChris Segura, a Cajun novelist and journalist who makes hisrnfirst Chronicles appearance in this issue, thinks so.rnAt his suggestion, I went to die Mrican-American CultmalrnCenter in St. Martinville, and although there is not much to secrnin die wa}’ of exhibits, the ahnosphcre of tiie place is astonishing.rnThe intention is to tell a true story that is fiir too complicatedrnto be fit into flic usual categories of black and white, masterrnand slave.rnThe black people working there were friendlv and helpful,rnwhcdicr they were speaking English or French. Next door, atrnthe memorial to the original Cajuns who had been driven outrnof Canada bv the merciless British, blacks and whites spokernwitii pride of their heritage. Perhaps somedav, St. Martinvillerncan become for Cajuns what Quebec Cih’ is for Ganadicns.rnWdi}’ not extend the model? Why cannot San Antonio becomerna center not of Mexican revanchisme, but of Spanish-rnAmerican civilization? What if the Norskis and Swedes in thernUpper Midwest turned off Garrison Keillor (who mocks andrnhates them) and turned St. Olaf’s and Augustana back into eflinicrncolleges? Let a million flowers bloom, and if some of themrnbloom red w ith blood, as some Nation of Islam members wouldrnlike, so be it. Their hysteria might be just enough to wake uprnsome of flic Anglos and inspire them witii a desire to revive theirrnown quaint folklore and customs-formal gardens, high teas,rnand the poetiT of Shakespeare.rnWhite-bread America is gone, and if it is replaced witii cornrnpone, tortillas, and sticky rice, there may be a little room left forrnscones with strawbern.- jam and clotted cream. If there is not, itrnwill not be flie faidt of Quebec separatists, black militants, orrnMexican immigrants. It will be our faidt for our failure to readrnShakespeare to our children or teach flicm to plav Mozart onrntile piano or even to show flicni one of Jim Tate’s film noir ela.ssicrnmovies, which do a better job of teaching the human eondifionrnthan anv sermon tiie are likelv to hear.rnWhat was left of Rome crumbled, finalh’, about 1,500 yearsrnago, but fragments of Roman life were preserved-and not justrnb}’ monks who copied old manuscripts. The traditions of civilizedrntown life survived all over Italy, and b}’ the time Europernrcall} hit rock bottom (about the time of Charlemagne’s coronation),rnthe Italians were alreadv constructing a new, perhapsrnmore brilliant civilization out of flic ruins. Who knows whatrnsort of civilization might emerge in a few hundred years fromrntiie far less impressive nuns of America? Whatever it might be,rnour task is the task of every generation of Christians: not tornwhine, but to redeem the time. crnNOVEMBER 2001/11rnrnrn