By Tom Quiner
This is one of America’s greatest values.
This value separates us from so much of the world.
Take Iraq. The country has three distinct groups which vie for power and survival: the Sunni, the Shiites, and the Kurds.
But in America, diverse groups have left behind cultural identities to become Americans first, and Germans second.
Americans first, English second.
Americans first, Irish second.
Americans first, Jews second.
That doesn’t mean these groups have always gotten along. They haven’t. The arriving 19th century Irish were excluded from employment opportunities when confronted by signs in merchant’s windows which said, “Irish need not apply.”
Jewish immigrants arriving in the U.S. in the 1920s ranked at the very bottom of the U.S. in terms of wealth. But because of our economic system of equality of opportunity which rewards hard work and innovation, Jews have now risen to the top of America’s prosperity rankings, along with Asian-Americans.
“E pluribus unum” doesn’t mean that ethnic groups forget their heritage. We don’t. We honor our past and ethnic traditions at the same time we embrace our American identity.
The Republican National Convention begins today. I will watch much of the convention. And I will vote for Republican candidates. I certainly gravitate toward Republican-oriented policies which favor limited government over the Democrat’s preference for sprawling bureaucracy.
What motivates me more are conservative values, which Republicans are more likely to embrace than Democrats.
Democrats have moved away from “e pluribus unum” in recent decades and embraced identity politics. Their approach pits one group against another:
√ blacks against whites
√ Hispanic against whites
√ the poor against the productive
√ homosexuals against heterosexuals
Their political survival depends on division, not unity. We are no longer just plain Americans. We are African-Americans or Hispanic-Americans.
They thrive on nurturing grievance. Their rejection of “e pluribus unum” is doing grave damage to our Republic.
The addition of Paul Ryan to the Romney ticket is a breath of fresh air. Nothing unites like prosperity. The Romney/Ryan message of equality of opportunity and limited government is a winning message for voters who still take pride in work over welfare.
I think the American character is still strong enough to be drawn to such a positive message.
But if we get four more years of Mr. Obama’s policies, I’m not so sure we’ll be able to say the same ever again.
I’m disappointed with Barack Obama. He promised to be a uniter. He has cynically proven to be a shameless divider.