We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. ~Jimmy Carter
Mosaic? Sounds soaring, but what exactly is a mosaic in this context?
Here’s a definition of mosaic that may help clear things up: A combination of diverse elements forming a more or less coherent whole: an incompetently constructed mosaic of competing interests.
Oops. Maybe not.
I understand the different people and beliefs part … but yearnings? Hopes? Dreams? How is there significant diversity in these? I guess if one thinks of yearning in terms of vocation. But this makes little sense because virtually everyone’s vocational yearning is to be successful and satisfied with one’s work, maybe to even make a difference.
Hopes? Let’s see, virtually everyone from every country, culture and ethnicity wants to live a fulfilled, stable, peaceful life. Most want to be happily married and many hope to rear healthy, intelligent and successful children. Where’s the diversity here?
Dreams? NOW we’re talking.
Let’s talk about a dream that once made our nation strong. But it’s not about diversity for diversity sake. It’s about a shared American Dream that unites us.
This was a dream that beckoned hopeful immigrants from all over the world to come to America for the chance to build new lives through opportunity and freedom. If they could only get to our shores, they reasoned, they could work hard to become citizens in a nation that, far from perfect, afforded them the best chance to build new lives.
What happened to this dream? It still exists but has been overshadowed by the limiting, shaming and militant god of cultural diversity. If my grandfather had arrived in 2017 instead of 1909, he would find a once promising and relatively united country torn and tugged by division and a glorification of all things different.
Building barriers, not bridges
Instead of seeing a diverse nation of fellow immigrants now citizens united by a shared American Dream, he’d likely be encouraged to not only preserve his cultural heritage, but to resist fully embracing an American culture—the very culture he’d scrimped and saved and sacrificed everything to join and become an American.
Today’s diversity dealers don’t build bridges; by overemphasizing our differences, they build barriers.
Our once shared American Dream has been trampled and disparaged by a small, but vocal minority who decry its legitimacy. A dream that galvanized generations of immigrants has been replaced by a glorification of cultural diversity.
Don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing wrong with cultural diversity per se—but there’s everything wrong with it when it divides us. Diversity, with the right perspective and emphasis, makes us uniquely American.
Diversity as America
What began as a rekindling of interest in our rich ethnic and cultural origins has become an elevation of all things diverse. And by making diversity an obsession, proponents have denigrated the idea of conforming to a shared national identity.
Here’s a fun factoid:
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “diversity” only acquired a positive connotation as recently as 1992.
Since then, diversity means so much more than … well, what it truly means.
Contrary to current collegiate instruction, diversity does not make for a utopian paradise of differing and self-contained, yet somehow cohesive mini-cultures. And it does not weave a strong national tapestry or create a beautiful mosaic.
What did diversity mean before its meaning was co-opted?
Diversity is rooted in a Latin word for disagreement, which naturally occurs when people of differing cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, religions and worldviews come together. It’s inevitable—just as this article will inevitably raise hackles.
Worthwhile diversity is about commitment. Not divisiveness.
In America, what unites people with differences is a commitment to a common dream: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is a central tenet of our Constitution, which, by the way, immigrants swear by before they can become U.S. citizens.
The oath, in part, is this:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America … that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.
Renounce allegiance … bear true faith to the same? These words confirm a commitment to a uniquely American way of thinking, an embrace of uniquely American values and dreams. The words of the oath are a commitment to … dun dun DUN … assimilation.
Assimilation is good, not bad
Sadly, assimilation has become a dirty word just as “melting pot” has become a dirty phrase. But here’s the truth—an immigrant cannot truly commit to becoming an American nor fulfill his or her oath without assimilating.
The idea that successful immigration can occur without assimilation is a relatively new construct—and it’s naturally illogical.
A foolish, mouthy minority has convinced a generation of young minds to believe that a culture with different beliefs, yearnings, hopes and dreams makes a stronger society and nation. This is nonsense.
Here’s the truth:
A culture with different people with different beliefs and points of origin can be strong—but only if its people are united by a common dream.
Don’t believe me?
Read about the world-changing actions of our “Greatest Generation.” Ask an elderly American what made his or her country great. They certainly won’t cringe at the mention of a melting pot. If they’re honest—and most are—they’ll tell you Jimmy Carter is full of you know what.
This quote by an earlier president make much more sense:
“Citizens by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections.” ~George Washington
Is nationalism a dirty word?
It is now. Somehow to be a nationalistic nation is to be a racist one. Even though our country have been its strongest, wisest and best when we’ve been the most nationalistic.
Which begs the question: Is it wrong to be a nationalistic superpower? The greatest nations in history were powerful, altruistic and influential in their time. And they were nationalistic … without being Nazi.
Take this test:
If you see the word nationalism and think Nazi or Alt Right, you’ve been indoctrinated by the media and far left.
If nationalism makes you think about our nation coming together after Pearl Harbor, your mind is still free and historically sensitive and unencumbered by propaganda.
Let’s look at this logically.
Allow me to ask some penetrating questions regarding this diversity-as-virtue motif:
When athletes on a sports team hold different beliefs about how to reach their goal of winning a championship, will they be as likely to become champions?
If soldiers in an army have different ideas about how to win a battle and aren’t willing to obey orders, will the army be as effective a fighting force?
When employees of a company believe in following different business models to achieve profitability, will the company stand the best chance to succeed?
If we hold different beliefs, yearnings, hopes and dreams, can we be strong as a nation?
Yes, we can. Sorry, O-Dawg.
But only if we lose the hyphen and see ourselves as Americans first and foremost. We desperately need to re-examine this infatuation with elevating and glorifying cultural differences. If you want to appreciate other cultures, please do so. But don’t do so at the expense of a shared American culture.
The opportunity to pursue happiness and the American Dream can be as inviting, accepting and amazing for us and our children and grandchildren as it was for our great-grandparents and their parents.
We’re different, but let’s be different together—as Americans.
Let’s resist the diversity despots who create barriers between us by emphasizing our differences. By coming together, we can get back to what Americans do best together—pursue a shared dream with innovation and spirit—and commitment.
And, while we’re at it, let’s drop the silly hyphen. It only gets in the way.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
~Statue of Liberty inscription