When Kennedy ran for President, Protestants were afraid he’d defer to Rome; some even suggested the Vatican would take over the U.S.
When Kerry ran, fear of the Pope interfering in U.S. affairs wasn’t even a bleep on the radar for anti-democratic pundits. Evidently that fear had been dispelled, and religion only came in to the Kerry debate when some Catholics themselves were concerned about Kerry’s pro-choice position.
During WWII, it was Japanese and Germans who were feared. Germans have again blended into the mainstream fabric, and post WWII Japanese Americans have the highest rate of “out-marriage” of any Asian group in the U.S.
The U.S. is a young country with a short memory. We’re a country of immigrants who target and marginalize people of color and various ethnic and religious groups among others, but the targeting is more flexible and fluid than it is in other countries where only the dominant group can truly lay title to national identity.
In Germany, for example, even second and third generation children of Turkish “guest” workers in Germany will never be considered Turkish-Germans. They’ll always be “foreigners”. The same “outsider” status holds true for Chinese in Japan or Africans in Russia. There is not a term for Chinese-Japanese, or African-Russians — it’s not even a concept.
Although every country has its haters, we U.S. haters more readily shift the object of our fear and loathing. Blacks are now tolerated seatmates for white haters on a plane, while religious Muslims in traditional clothing now are the ones to inspire fear –see the recent quote from Juan Williams– even though none of the bombers to date has ever been dressed in traditional Muslim clothing.
I think it’s high time we saluted ourselves for being equal opportunity haters who are not stuck on one scapegoat. I mean, who wants to be yesterday’s news. And really, with all the diversity in the U.S., and shifting U.S. foreign policy casting one or another people or country as the new “villain”, there’s always someone out there for us to target and vent against.