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Posted August 14, 2017:

E Pluribus Unum

I closed this space last week with sociologist Glenn Loury’s ominous warning, “Those who live by the sword of identity politics will die by it.”

And people did die, in Charlottesville.

As another argued in an article I cited to last week at “What’s Tony Thinking?”, Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” really means “Make America White Again.”

So here are several brief comments about where we are.

First, Trump has fed the fires of racial hatred, bigotry and the totally ridiculous construct of “white supremacy.” And he is not someone who will ever accept any responsibility for anything that is wrong or anything that he has done or said that is wrong or evil.

Americans of all races, we are stuck with Trump for now, but is this who we want to be — people who don’t accept responsibility for our words and our actions? This is not who we are. This is not who we ought to want to be. If God is up to something here, it is putting before us in Trump a man whose inability to accept responsibility is so clearly anti-thetical to what’s core to being an American and a flashing red light of our serious condition. He is the flat line on our national ekg. Read it and weep. Read it and repent.

Second, white America is fading, literally. We are becoming more brown like it or not. The demographics are clear. They don’t lie. We are in the midst of big change. Have been for a while. Such change is real and not without challenge or danger. It calls upon us to be better, to be bigger people.

As someone said, “People bemoan change. The issue is not change. It is loss.” What are people losing? Can that be acknowledged? Can loss be acknowledged without creating bitterness and blame? And can we see, for once, the profound gift God has given us in our manyness?

Third, if there is a gift in the e pluribus, our manyness, and there for sure is; what is the unum that we share and are part of? To what extent are any of us willing to participate in something more, bigger than ourselves or our group? Our oneness, our unum is in bad shape. We have an obligation to both.

To our manyness and to our oneness. The problem with pluralism, said John Gardner, many years ago is “the war of the parts against the whole.” We seem to have lost the ability to think of what we share, to think of ourselves as “Americans,” with an obligation to a whole beyond the parts.

Ominous times.  

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