I think there are two groups of Americans who want very different types of America. One prefers the America they and their parents have been used to where white people had most of the power and opportunities. The second group prefers an America where any citizen, regardless of skin color, religion or how long their families have been in America, can join in the American opportunity on a level playing field*.
I, like everyone, have my own preference between these two Americas, but I am trying to be non-judgmental in this article.
The first group is the oldest. Most of the American founding fathers were in this group as well as the great majority of American settlers who fought to create the United States, wrote the Constitution, and held the bulk of the power and influence ever since. They believed they fought for, died for, and built America, and they deserved to run it. They were almost 100% white Protestants.
The second group didn’t begin to coalesce until the American Civil War and has steadily, but slowly, grown in size since. The notable “wins” for this group include freeing the slaves, all people’s right to vote, and the Civil Rights laws of 50 years ago.
An easy way to describe these two groups is how they each define the words “All men are created equal” in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Group #1 prefers the original meaning when they were written, that is, only white people (and some narrow that definition to white male Protestants). Group #2 thinks it means every American citizen. (Note: Today Group #1 is still predominantly white Protestants, but Group #2 also includes many white Protestants along with the many minority groups in America.)
This difference has been active in America for at least 150 years and bubbles up into armed, or close to armed, conflict every once in a while. It seems the recent election has started a new episode of visible conflict that seems to me to be more pronounced than any I’ve seen since I’ve been an adult (the last 50+ years). I’m worried.
* My Definition of “Level Playing Field”:
I primarily think a “level playing field” means equal opportunity education and jobs. Anyone in their 60s or above grew up when being non-white meant even if you could afford to move to a better neighborhood with a better educational system, you usually could not. So your children received a lower quality education in elementary, middle and high school. This of course led to poorer SAT scores and less opportunity to get into the better universities. The result was being less qualified when you needed to get a job. In my opinion, every white American in their 60s or above benefited from this tilted playing field (even though we never realized it - and still think ‘we busted our ass to achieve what we did, so don’t tell me I had an advantage'). I think the field is less tilted now, but it’s still at about a 10%-15% angle.