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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
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
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.