The Great Amercian Melting Pot

Way back in the dark annals of history, when I first started blogging, I wrote the following:

There are a few things about California that are simply in my blood… there are just some things about northern California that I will never get over missing.

I miss the way the breeze picks up each afternoon around 2, no matter how hot the day. I miss the lovely, thick blankets of fog rolling over the mountains that divide the Bay from the Pacific ocean. I miss the Redwood trees as big around as my living room, and their lovely furry bark that is impervious to fire (did you know that?). I miss the smell of night-blooming flowers and jasmine that are everywhere. I miss the smell of the ocean, and the sound of crashing waves. I miss the taste of salt on my lips, and the wind whipping my hair around as I drive down the coast…

What I don’t miss is the impossible real-estate market…  I don’t miss crabby people who don’t have time to smile because their lives are so busy and important.  I don’t miss my 45 minute commute to get less than 10 miles. I don’t miss the competitive nature of life, where even the preschool you send you toddler to has status.  I don’t miss crowds at the grocery store, the farmers market, the parks, campgrounds, national parks and restaurants. I miss my family; I don’t miss all the other people.

But I do know why they all want to live here.

That still pretty much sums up my feelings. Although, I would change that I don’t miss all the other people- I think I might, just a little bit. The diversity is amazing, and something I wish we had a little more of here in the Northwest. Because of the tremendous tax-base the cities on the peninsula have, their parks, streets and amenities are all fantastic. The food choices, restaurants, grocers and markets as amazing- everything from Armenia to Zaire is represented- and represented well. When you have so many people from so many cultures living together, and living together well, it’s the ideal “Melting Pot” in action. And it’s a beautiful thing.

In my mom’s upper-middle class neighborhood, she has an old white republican guy on one side, an interracial couple on the other, a Punjabi famiy across the street (who invite neighbors over for meditation nights) and, literally, dozens of other races and nationalities up and down the street. As we went Trick-or-Treating on Halloween night, it was fun to see who would answer the door- and I found myself a little sad at the lack different faces in my own neighborhood.

The face of America is changing. No longer do races necessarily congregate in their own pockets, like they once did in the big cities. And as more and more people grow up in colorful schools and homes, more and more people will marry and have children of varied heritage. Our differences become less pronounced and our common humanity comes to the forefront. That’s a very good thing.

So that’s what I was thinking about. As I headed home on Tuesday night, the election returns were just starting to come in from the East coast. When I landed, we had a new president. I’m proud- not because we elected an African American- but because it’s possible that we can do so. I’m proud that Barack Obama was elected in a non-contested, clearly won election. I’m proud the torch can be passed, and that Mr Obama will not be the ‘black’ president, but just Mr. President.

That’s a very good thing.

12 thoughts on “The Great Amercian Melting Pot

  1. Really? Do you really think Obama will not be the “black” president? Because that is the only press I have heard so far. It actually took me aback how that immediately started on Election night and has continued since and has made me wonder if he is getting a little irritated that everyone is referring to him as the first black president rather than the man who deserved the job regardless of race.

  2. I am really glad Obama won, and I think he will be the “black” president for quite awhile. I think the whole world breathed a collective sigh of relief, then stood up and cheered when he won. From what I have seen, he is a great man and I am “audaciously hopeful” that he can accomplish what he has promised.

    I saw a children’s book at Costco last week called Barack. I wanted to buy it but didn’t have the spare cash that day. I really hope they have it at my local library or maybe Santa will splurge this Christmas.

    I am so glad to know there are a few other LDS out there who supported him!

  3. Oh, one more thing – I like to think of the US as a mixed salad. Each ingredient has its own identity. When mixed together, the ingredients become something more interesting and flavorful 🙂

  4. I didn’t vote for Barak yet come Wednesday morning I was near tears as I thought about what his election meant. I am behind him 100%. I wish that his hope for the future doesn’t get overwhelmed by the sad state of Washington.

    After hearing how many blacks were touched by his election, what it means to them in their ethnic struggles, I hope that it will heal wounds and help us get on with being brothers and sisters.

  5. Bridget, there are a LOT of LDS out there who supported him…

    Jendoop, I’m in agreement- I hope it helps heal and lets us all be better brothers and sisters, too.

    And like most people, I didn’t vote for him because he was black- but because I beleived he was the best choice.

  6. Part of why I voted for him was the symbolism. It wasn’t the largest part, but it was a small part.

    As I listened first to McCain and then to Obama, I wished that the country had heard that level of oration from both of them throughout the campaign. Don’t assume I mean to focus that on McCain. Obama is a better natural orator, but both of them shone that night more than at any other time in the campaign.

    It was good to fight back tears of joy after being so disillusioned by the race itself.

  7. Do you mind if I ask a question? Honestly I’ve been wondering this, I don’t want an intense “discussion” I just really would like to hear others’ opinions and attitudes.
    Abortion is a huge issue for me, as a woman and as a mormon. That is one of my biggest barriers to ever voting democratic. Can you explain your feelings on the issue to help me understand how you voted?
    thanks, sorry if I’m threadjacking…

  8. jendoop- I don’t know if there is a way to do that. I am willing to state my opinion, however.

    I don’t think abortion (or any social issue) belongs on anyone’s political platform. I am a registered Independant voter, and vote for the person I feel right for the job, not the party platform. In various elections, I have voted Republican, Democrat and even third pary in presidential elections.

    In this last election, I was honestly undecided until McCain picked Palin. That tipped the scales. The final blow was when Colin Powel, a man I respect tremendously, gave the speech he gave on Meet the Press. It was then my vote for Obama was solidified.

    As far as abortion (or gay marriage, for that matter) these are private matters, best kept in the private sector. Once upon a time, the Republican party was the party of small government, fiscal conservatism and states’ rights. Should they return to that platform, I could get on board.

    While I personally find abortion a terrible thing, I don’t beleive morality can be legislated. We are all accountable for our own decisions, and abortion is a medical procedure to be kept private between a woman and her doctor. Like other medical ethics, there can and perhaps should be regulations, but beyond that, I am unwilling to say what another can do.

    I feel the same way about gay marriage. Get the govornment out of “marraige” altogether. Let any two adults who want to commit their lives together do so, in a civil union. Then anyone who wants marriage can get it from the church of their faith. It’s what they already do in Europe and much of South America.

    I realize my private opinion is different from the official position of my church. It’s not easy, and the issues are not simple.

  9. Tracy, thank you for sharing. Sometimes when you publish things so politically volitile you hit the “submit” button and cringe. You brave woman you!

    I see where you are coming from. Often I wonder how my beliefs should be translated into public policy. We live in an imperfect world so our ‘celestial’ ideals don’t always address the real world implications of imperfection, sin and ignorance. Just because something is true doesn’t mean applying it strictly across the board will solve every issue.

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