Letter: Re-igniting America's chilled melting pot

Posted 9/6/23

We Americans are different. We’re different from all other industrialized countries, and we’re different from one another. The U.S., for example, is the only industrialized …

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Letter: Re-igniting America's chilled melting pot

Posted

We Americans are different. We’re different from all other industrialized countries, and we’re different from one another. The U.S., for example, is the only industrialized country without a national health care system, AKA socialized medicine. Furthermore, because — except for America’s original inhabitants — we all came from away at some point, our population is richly and permanently diverse, much more so than any other industrialized society.

Our differences here at home, ignored sometimes, bubble up from time to time, particularly in periods of economic stress and when whipped up by elitists, fear-mongers, or racists. Recall that our diversity has come about through the arrival of thousands of ships landing searching immigrants and battalions of shackled slaves. More recently airliners and foot traffic have brought thousands and thousands more to these shores. The earliest arrivals, mainly from Northern Europe, seem to have assigned themselves and their offspring the mantle of Real Americans. They have resisted through discrimination, violence, and legislation to inhibit every wave of immigration from any other part of the world. 

And so even today many citizens claim “dash” status, partly to celebrate their heritage and partly to coalesce for reasons of common safety and power. African-Americans; Hispanic-Americans; Asian-Americans: and on and on. Certainly the melting pot metaphor has proved wrong, even though a huge number of Americans celebrate diversity and believe it to be a major reason for America’s energy and accomplishments in education, innovation, and the arts. Yes, deep down we all wish for something beyond the melting pot and balkanization. It cannot be, it just cannot be, continued racism as our notoriety and our legacy.

As a high school runner the only race that bothered me was the quarter mile. That race was the only race that was a “killer.” May we all participate some way or some how in a race to end racism, in the embrace of our better angels, who may be away but are available to be summoned to save us as one good nation.

Will Newman

Tiverton

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