Lately, America is being torn apart internally. We are becoming more and more divided on ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. And as time goes on, rather than getting better, it seems to me that it is only getting worse.
When I was growing up in California during the late 70’s and 80’s, no one cared what color you were or what religion you practiced. My neighborhood was very ethnically and religiously diverse, and it was awesome. All of us kids, whether we were white, black, Mexican, Filipino, Asian, Catholic, atheist, Jewish, Southern Baptist, Muslim, or whatever else, played together as a group. We had all the normal fights that kids do, “that touchdown doesn’t count” or “I tagged you out”, but never did race, gender or religion get blamed.
What has happened to this country? As a straight, mostly white male, of very mixed ethnic background, I’m amazed at what has become of the Great American Melting Pot. I once read a great analogy, and I can’t recall where I saw it, but the author said that the American Melting Pot had turned into a Salad Bowl. America has ceased to melt all of us, from such varied backgrounds, into one society, and instead we are like a salad bowl, all living in the same area but still very different from each other.
I was prompted to write this because of the attached image which I saw on a friend’s Facebook page this morning. I get the point of the meme, but I think they are all missing the much larger point. Our floundering, once great nation is being torn apart by all of those groups. We should be coming together as a country, not separated into groups. I am not remotely suggesting one forget their heritage, but realize it is only that; heritage. It is part of your background, and that is where it should be. We should all be an American first and foremost.
Picture yourself getting a “pride” tattoo. It will be your one and only tattoo. If your first thought regarding what to get is about your ethnicity or sexual orientation, then you my friend are part of the problem. Your first thought should be about “American Pride.” Until we get back to a time when being American takes precedence over being black, brown, yellow, red, white, straight or gay, we will continue on this self destructive path of being a divided, disjointed wreck.
Enough with the hyphenated Americans. I’m an American! What are you?