The Segregationist Impulse

I finally got around to reading David Frum's thoughtful essay on inequality and "the vanishing Republican voter," with which I mostly agree. I was especially intrigued by the section on Prince William County in Virginia, an exurb of Washington, D.C. Frum correctly identifies immigration as a key issue making Prince William white voters feel disgruntled with the Bush administration and national politics. What those folks seek, Frum writes, is a "modest-enough utopia, and comfortable equality." Frum believes "there are no more egalitarian and no more Republican places in the United States than these exurbs" — as long as they remain solely white and middle class. The problems come when poor Latino immigrants show up and begin crowding roads, schools, and hospital emergency rooms.

But wait. Aren't those immigrants there to build the endless subdivisions those white Republican are living in? (I'll answer that for you: yes.) As long as happiness in exurbs depends, for many of their residents, on homogeneity, it would be fairer to call the impulse to live in such exurbs "segregationist," not "egalitarian."

cross-posted at TAPPED

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