America was founded in the late 18th century by a group of former Europeans declaring their independence from Great Britain. It became the symbol of hope for a better way of life for countless millions of people, initially from Europe and eventually for folks from all corners of the globe. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, America became known as the Great Melting Pot, welcoming people from all over the world.
Between 1820 and 2020, more than 80 million people came to the United States and attained lawful permanent resident status. The “melting pot” term is in reference to the fact that people from different lands and different cultures brought their own belief systems, their own religion, their own traditions and yet somehow, in their effort to share in the American dream of success, found common ground with their neighbors. Like a recipe for fine food, the best taste was achieved when all the ingredients were blended together.
It’s not uncommon for Americans to brag about their ancestral roots. If an American family is of Italian ancestry, they may refer to themselves as Italian, even though several generations have called the United States home. I didn’t realize how unique this practice was until some years ago I was out to dinner with a group of people in the West African country of Cameroon and made a passing reference to being Irish. One of the local members of our dinner party looked perplexed and said to me, “Irish? I thought you were American.”
When I explained that my ancestors had come from Ireland she pressed harder. She wanted to know when my family had moved to America. I told her the 1840s. She scoffed at the notion I could claim any Irish blood. “You’re American” she said quite matter of factly. Granted, in Cameroon they have more than 240 tribes, speak more than 240 dialects and have traditionally not intermingled among tribes, so the melting pot concept was lost on my hosts. The conversation, however, was a great awakening for me. I became fully aware of just how unique the American blend of race, ethnicity and religion really is. At that moment, I was quite proud of the great melting pot.
Fast forward to 2021 and I’m not so sure. Is the melting pot a success story or is it a wonderful dream that in reality is coming to a crashing and disastrous conclusion? In the kitchen when you blend various herbs and spices, the intended result of the blend is a special taste that appeals to all. Any one of those ingredients by themselves may be too bitter or too sweet or simply unpalatable to some, but somehow, when it all melts together, a recipe can approach culinary perfection.
So it is with the United States. While the Europeans may have been the primary founders of our nation, the nation has enjoyed human “ingredients” from Africa, Asia and South America. We have flavors from all over earth. This human and societal melting pot has traditionally gotten better and better as we melt the best of all of those cultures and knowledge into one united nation. When we exclude or separate out an ingredient, the recipe is clearly missing something.
Historically, there have been elements of society which weren’t initially welcomed into the melting pot. The history of slavery presented unique challenges, particularly in the South. In the Northeast there was a time where signs reading “The Irish need not apply” were commonplace. Any number of other ethnicities have been discriminated against as well. By and large however, such bigotry is overcome.
The Irish, once shunned, grew into dominant forces in politics and law enforcement in the Northeast. Asians make up only 5.4% of the American population but make up more than 21% of all medical school students in the United States. Black America celebrated the election of its first U.S. president in 2008 and again in 2012. Alberto Gonzales became the first Hispanic U.S. attorney general in 2005; Eric Holder became the first Black attorney general in 2009; and Loretta Lynch became the first black female attorney general in 2015. Citing those various milestones, one could easily assume the melting pot is working.
Ironically, it was the American electorate’s confirmation that the country is not racist, the 2008 election of Barack Obama, that eventually led to the most difficulty in race and ethnic relations in decades. According to Gallup polling, when Mr. Obama took office 22% of America felt race relations were bad or very bad. Hope was high that with Mr. Obama preaching unity, the country would take giant leaps forward and perhaps even largely solve any remaining elements of bigotry. Instead, Mr. Obama regularly promoted a divisive message. He not only divided America by race, he managed to get genders upset with one another and he vilified those who had been economically successful, sowing the seeds of discontentment among the working class. By the time Mr. Obama left office after two terms, he had stirred the American pot to the point that Gallup numbers showed 55% felt race relations were bad or very bad.
Since then things have only gotten worse. According to the latest Gallup survey, fewer than half of Americans (44%) rate race relations in the U.S. as “good.” That 44% figure is the lowest percentage Gallup has ever recorded.
There have been violent demonstrations, riots, burning and looting in more than 50 American cities. There have been attacks on government buildings and on law enforcement. America is angry. America is scared. Who are they scared of? People that look different from them.
Black students want their own student unions on college campuses because they don’t feel safe around White students. Not once but twice in the last two weeks there have been race-related attacks on random Asians by African-Americans. Black Lives Matter (BLM) is force feeding its White supremacy message on people ranging from school children to sports fans while simultaneously chanting “kill the police” at demonstrations. Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors summarized the group’s 42-page 2020 report by saying “white supremacy is currently sanctioned by our systems and even by some of our elected officials.”
Major League Baseball has pulled its annual All-Star Game from Atlanta. ”I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.” He cited no specifics, which is important, because though it has been bandied around as a political weapon, the new Georgia voting law in no way restricts voting rights for anyone.
Ironically, the wording of the updated Georgia law is based on a federal law that passed the U.S. Senate in 2002 by a 92-2 vote. There is perhaps more hypocrisy than irony in the fact that President Biden has criticized the latest Georgia law as a return to the Jim Crow era. Either the president is playing shameless politics or allegations of his memory loss are legitimate because in 2002 then-Sen. Biden voted in favor of the federal law with virtually the same language.
That isn’t the first time the 46th president needlessly fanned the flames of discontent either. A couple of weeks back, Mr. Biden ignored the statements a crazy sex addict massage parlor shooter gave to police and instead insisted, based on pure and as it turned out completely inaccurate speculation, that the shootings were motivated by a hatred of Asians.
The current administration is on record in support of critical race theory being taught, not only in schools, but to our military personnel as well. Critical race theorists falsely accuse the United States of being a fundamentally racist nation and condemns capitalism, individual rights and the U.S. Constitution, despite more than 200 years of evidence of their success.
I have written before that the blind belief of the global warming alarmists is their strongest asset. Too warm? Global warming. Too cold? Global warming. More hurricanes? Global warming. No hurricanes? Global warming. Too much snow? Not enough snow? Drought conditions? Torrential rains? You name it and the reason, we’re told, is global warming.
Likewise, the true believers of a race driven agenda blame everything on “racist America.” Never mind that literally every race in the United States is better off than 10 years ago. Better off than 50 years ago. Certainly better off than 200 years ago.
Is America perfect? Absolutely not. Do racists walk among us? Most certainly, but that does not automatically mean that every action every day by all of society is a racist act. Capitalism isn’t a racist construct. Ironically,, the race based policies at universities have been established for the specific purpose of benefiting minorities, not holding them down.
The university classroom, the corporate boardroom and legislatures from coast to coast all look more like the general population than ever before. Despite that the antagonists and naysayers spend all their waking hours telling us we are racists. In their zest to single out White people as inherently bad (which seems like kind of a racist assumption doesn’t it?), groups like BLM want more and more groups, positions and policies set based solely on race. It is the exact opposite of the color blind society Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for.
By insisting that society divide itself and use race to determine who gets what, the radical left is destroying the melting pot. Keeping the ingredients separate make for a lousy culinary experience. It makes for an even worse country. Mr. Biden seems all too eager to feed this race-based frenzy rather than emphasizing one nation, one people, one America. This short-sighted attempt at cheap political gain will likely have disastrous long-lasting consequences. The once-celebrated “melting pot” is now being used to destroy us from within.