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The Future is Now


The future arrived early this week.  Thirty years early, to be exact.

It blew in in time to send Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, to the White House for a second term. It put him over the top in Nevada and Colorado, with its contingency of Latino voters, and in Iowa, with young voters, and in Ohio and Pennsylvania, with working class white and black voters.

And it will, more than likely, give Obama some gravy to top off his electoral victory – that gravy being Florida. Black people, Latinos and people who were determined to push back against Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican legislature’s efforts to suppress their right to vote stood in line for as long as six hours to cast ballots in South Florida.

Call it a preview of 2042. And it’s a reality that the GOP, along with its assorted wingnuts and greedy corporatists, had better get used to.

According to the U.S. Census, right now Latinos, black people, and Asians make up a third of the U.S. population. But in three decades, they’re expected to comprise more than half of the population.

Black, Latino and Asian children will make up half of all the children born by 2023. By 2050, Latinos will make up 30 percent of the nation, black people will make up 15 percent and Asians will make up 9.2 percent.

Native Americans and Alaska natives are projected to become 2 percent of the population, while native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders are expected to double from 1.1 million to 2.6 million.


But this week all of these groups – Latinos in particular – tipped the election to Obama in a big way.

They apparently eliminated GOP challenger Mitt Romney’s early vote edge in Colorado. They neutralized the enormous advantage that the former Massachusetts governor had with white voters to send Obama – a man who had been the target of bigotry and other assorted forms of otherization that they, no doubt, could relate to – back for a second term.

In other words, all the hatred, all the dog whistles and phrases like, “Let’s take our country back,” and all the subtle plays to racial animus and fear did more to tick off scores of minority voters than it did to fire up more white voters.

The numbers ought to make the Republican party – a party that hitched its fate to white resentment more than forty years ago – take note.

That’s because this election wasn’t just a triumph for Obama, or a validation of his vision and direction for this country. It was a repudiation of the hate-speak that struck a deep chord with minorities who live with similar kinds of disrespect each day.

It was a repudiation of a party dominated by clownish, right-wing talkers, and corporate moguls who believe that elections can be bought and not won. Most of all, the blocks-long lines of people of color in Florida and Ohio, and in other states was a rejection of the notion that minorities would give up their right to vote if it was made too inconvenient for them to exercise.

Apparently, that stereotype bit the dust in a big way.

It bit the dust because what Latinos, black people and other minorities realize is that it’s more inconvenient to be governed by a lily-white party that sees their progress as a threat to their privilege.

They know that it’s more inconvenient to be ruled by a party that welcomes people such as Maricopa County, Ariz. sheriff Joe Arpaio and its governor, Jan Brewer, who believe that anyone with brown skin is an undocumented worker until proven otherwise.

It’s a party that embraces racists such as former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who was one of Romney’s top surrogates, who claimed that Obama needed to learn how to be an American, called him lazy, and accused former Secretary of State Colin Powell of endorsing Obama because they both were black.

It’s a party that constantly maligns minorities as people who are in search of handouts instead of opportunity; it's one that clings to a past built on exclusion instead of preparing for a future of inclusion.

But this week, the future came early. And what it ought to teach Republicans is that they can’t stop the future from happening.

No matter how much money and hate they throw at it.


Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist who is based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her at tonyaajw@twitter. Or visit her webpage and blog, “Tonyaa’s Take,” at www.tonyaajweathersbee.com.