“Ya turned Injun, didn’t ya?” — Yankee soldier, just before he
beats First Lieutenant John J. Dunbar (Indian name, Dances With Wolves)
to a pulp with a rifle butt.
I guess it has been overall a pretty good couple of weeks when I’m invited to New York to meet with a religious conservative Israeli leader I deeply admire and when one piece is reported on extensively in The America Conservative (“Empire and its Jeffersonian Discontents,” 5/4/12) and another praised and reprinted by Lew Rockwell. Then a third is blasted across the Internet by the marginal fringe.
The crime was I wrote that one assumes the nature of another — or attempts to — when claiming Indian blood. Or when naming a child, say, Victoria, Dylan, Reagan, Rand or any avatar; it is to call to gain in the spirit of the avatar so to be raised in the spirit of and be like her or him. Some of my family elders claimed to be Jews when they were merely Old Sod Irish. Wanting to be Irish grows today as a Gen X fad. But it is the Indian thing that got them: Elizabeth Warren claimed to be Cherokee.
The comments received on the blog and those to my own account were rich in bile and venom, more than any altogether that I’d received in the 961 essays I’ve published in the last seven years. And being about the first in New England this past century to publicly claim Jefferson’s vision of states’ rights and regional sovereignty as our natural American birthright, I do get hate mail.
“It was an observation on what it means to be an American,” I told the Boston Globe commentator who emailed about the blog (“Elizabeth Warren’s true American lineage,” The Hill’s Pundits Blog, 5/21/12). “My interest in Warren is only cultural as I cannot vote for her and would probably vote for Brown if I lived in Massachusetts. Most essential in my Hill essay were my comments on Emerson. His vision of America is elementary today: We are born free in the forest and should remain free from Europeanism. American Indians, in that regard — to Fenimore Cooper as well — are guides to us in this.”
Interesting that all the hollering came from men. Real pissed-off men. I can’t help think that the real moral issue here does run deep as blood. What’s really going on here? Elizabeth Warren “turned Injun”!
Coolidge, before he became president, was governor of Massachusetts and no one cared that he thought he was “part Indian,” as so many of the old north-country Yanks did. No one in Massachusetts cares about Elizabeth Warren in that as well. And in the last week Warren has risen from nine behind two months ago to go even with Scott Brown.
I place my bet right here that Warren will be five ahead next week, Native American or not. Because the psycho attack on Warren by the fascist fringe has now brought Brown into its web. Wanted or not, he now wears its cloak. And it won’t work in Massachusetts.