A nation bored by dreary, knotty debates about health care found relief in another National Conversation on Race. “This one,” as Frank Rich writes in the New York Times of last week’s ballyhooed Beer Summit, “ended with a burp,” but the hangover could last well over 30 years. Census counters say the US will become a white-minority country by 2042—a prospect fueling hysteria among the Lou Dobbs and Glenn Becks of the world.
“What provokes their angry and nonsensical cries of racism is sheer desperation: an entire country is changing faster than these white guys bargained for,” Rich says. It’s no surprise then that the “birthers” resurfaced just as “Gatesgate” boiled over and Sonia Sotomayor cruised toward Senate confirmation. “We’re just at the start of what may be a 30-year struggle. Beer won’t cool the fury of those who can’t accept the reality that America’s racial profile will no longer reflect their own.”