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This last election has shown the continuing trend in American politics to do away with the "melting pot" of America.
We saw ad after ad target specific groups of people in an attempt to convince them to vote as a whole and not give individual thought to a given issue. Two of the more blatant examples covered immigration and support for Israel.
I am reminded of two terms from chemistry that are often confused: "compound" and "mixture."
A compound is a substance that is made up of two or more chemical elements that are bonded together in such a fashion that a chemical process is needed to separate them. A mixture, on the other hand, is a physical mixing of two or more substances than can be isolated again by a simple mechanical means such as using a magnet to pull bits of iron from a recycling bin.
The American melting pot should produce a compound from all the people who live and come here. We should be bonded by the love of the ideals presented by our Declaration of Independence and embodied in our Bill of Rights. Instead, our politicians, our elected leaders, treat us as a simple mixture that can be broken apart at will when it comes election time by simple pandering.
We cannot expect to build a strong society going forward by using bricks made of mud and straw (a simple mixture) instead of chemically bonded concrete.
Note: this blog entry has also been published at a Letter to the Editor in the Las Vegas Sun:
Hi there. I appreciate the sincerity in your post, but I respectfully disagree with you regarding the desirability of a cultural melting-pot. I'm not even sure that such a thing is even possible, at least to the degree of a chemical compound. In my opinion, the very concept seems to run counter to the Whig ethic that values diversity as a source of strength.
In my opinion, a better model would be a stew pot. The American stew pot is always simmering, and new ingredients are constantly being added. It has a base that both flavors, and is flavored by, it's individual components. Remove a potato from the stew and take a bite... You will taste potato, but you will also taste the base of the stew.
Our American culture is complex and varied. Part of its great character is that it can accommodate pockets of other cultures and be enriched by them... And in time, those individual pockets are enriched by aspects of the great American culture that surrounds and nurtures them.
We gain strength from our diversity as well as our unity.
Just wanted to say that I enjoyed this article!
Quite well done Jim! Whig out!
I believe that this is a very important obstacle to our society as a whole. Hyphenated Americans are illogical, having areas such as "china towns" is anathema to the whole idea of our nation. There has to be a commitment to the actual transformation into an American, dedicated to the equality of the People, for immigration to benefit our society the way that it is intended, and can potentially.
It is somehwat natural, e.g., I grew up in a "Jewish ghetto" that was chock full of east european types, as well as other poor folks. We were "hyphenated Ameicans". As the immigrants come here, they do tend to cluster around each other. That part is, I beleive, a natural phenomena. It sure felt so.
Stew, melting, whatever, assimilation is a necessary "ingridient" to the mix.
There is nothing wrong with remembering where you come from.
The issue is not whether I am second generation Mexican American or 4th Generation Irish American. The issue is am I an American.
Look, recently there was an issue with an Anglo Student wearing an American flag on Cinco de Mayo. It was found to be offensive by some Mexican American(?) students and the Anglo student was asked to turn the shirt inside out or leave school.
Now, I do not ever remember the Irish (including me) getting upset if the Stars and Stripes was displayed on St Patrick’s day. Indeed, it was pretty much a given that the Grand ole Flag was present on St Patrick’s Day.
I also remember this being the case during the Italian American Fest.
I am also very aware of the Stars and Stripes being present with the Te Guk Gi in most Korean American establishments I have been in, from restaurants to Churches.
So someone explain to me where this Cinco de Mayo BS comes from?
It is not even a holiday in most of Mexico, with the exception of the area around Puebla village where the battle that Cinco de Mayo commemorates occurred.
Bluntly Cinco de Mayo is an American holiday that grew up around the border region and was pushed to prominence by the Beer Breweries. It was not even all that big as recently as the 80's, and as about as authentically Mexican as St Valentines’ day is authentically Catholic. A created Holiday by the corporate world.
That is the point, some people do not desire to be Americans, and are in fact hostile to the United States and will use every opportunity, real or imagined, to express their hate.
There is nothing wrong with things like China Towns, because you do not have to be Chinese or Asian to go there, nor are you likely to get threatened or abused for not being Asian while you’re there. That was the same with the Jewish, and Italian neighborhoods. It was where Jewish and Italian first and second generation families lived, and where they assimilated. And also had the best Deli's in town or the best Spaghetti.
Is this true in the predominantly black urban areas? Or the Hispanic Barrios.
Well actually, in some, yes. I am a Mick living in a predominantly middle class black neighborhood in Tennessee. And I have lived in the Lower Valley in El Paso, without much worry.
This is a new issue, and an intentional attempt to Balkanize the United States for Political Purposes. We need to identify who is behind it, from La Raza to the Ethnic Studies Mafia in the University Sociology Departments and call them out. Expose them.
By the way, the term Ghettos is just not appropriate in the United States. I thought it was until I lived in Germany, and saw what a Ghetto actually was.
A Ghetto is actually an enclave, for good or bad, where the inhabitants set up a quasi state, with their own rules, and generally their own enforcement. The German Police will steer clear of a Turkish or Muslim ghetto. This is also true in France where the Police just do not enter the Muslim Ghettos.
We do not have that in the United States, yet.
Stewpot - great metaphor! Much more apt than melting pot. I am 4 generations removed from my Swedish forebearers, but I stll like swedish pancakes and Jarlsburg Ost cheese.