A eulogy for the WASPs

By James T. Keane, 29 January 2021
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, US, January 20, 2021. Image: mccv/Shutterstock.com


Tripp. Trey. Trace. All were names I had never encountered until I started graduate school in the Ivy League. But then I met them all, the third-generation scions of America’s white Anglo-Saxon Protestant establishment, people who popped their collars and owned Sailfish boats and who had never been to the Jersey Shore. Seriously, I thought to myself more than once, you call yourself Trey?

There are many Americas, but only one of them has held power since 1776. But guess what happened? The Jimmys are now everywhere in the U.S. government.

After 250 years of golf and boiled chicken, the Treys do not hold a single position of power in the U.S. government. The newly inaugurated president of the United States, Joseph R. Biden Jr., is a Catholic. His vice president is a woman of colour. The speaker of the House of Representatives is a woman and a Catholic. With the victories of Raphael Warnock, an African-American pastor, and Jon Ossoff, who is Jewish, in the Georgia Senate race, Chuck Schumer is set to become the first-ever Jewish majority leader. The chief justice of the Supreme Court is a Catholic, as are five of his compatriots. Two of the others are Jewish. Three are women. The new attorney general of the United States is Merrick Garland. He’s Jewish.

The House, if not the Senate, is starting to look remarkably like the United States.

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James T. Keane is a senior editor at America.

With thanks to America Magazine and James T Keane, where this article originally appeared.


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