Strength in Diversity, not Division


by Susan Stamper Brown

Surreal Setting…Sunny skies… Frigid late January temperatures… The National Mall covered by a euphoric blanket of humanity…Left hand on the Historic Lincoln Bible and right hand raised… A promise to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution… An electric speech by the 44th American president: “…Because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass…” A new era ushered in… Hope for change to come…

Fast forward to last week when the leader of the free world addressed Latino voters on Univision radio vociferously declaring war against the enemy. Barack Obama promised to “punish our enemies…” Taken out of context from the rest of his speech, one might think a newly formed backbone raised Obama from his bowing stance to become the Commander-in-Chief necessary to defend our nation against enemies like al-Qaida or the Taliban.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. Obama was speaking to Latinos about immigration reform and he defined the “enemy” as any American citizen that supports stronger border security and strict immigration laws.

Attempting to raise the Latino voter enthusiasm gap while in Los Angeles this week, Obama also promised his cabinet was working on immigration legislation but couldn’t get it done because, “I am not king” and blamed Republicans for holding up progress.,0,5241870.story

Latinos are smart and can read through the teleprompted rhetoric to understand that the Democratic Party had both the power and opportunity to pass the promised legislation – but did not. Democrats throw out the same old bait every election cycle when they are fishing for Latino votes.

The million dollar question here is how we got from: “we cannot help but believe the old hatreds shall someday pass” spiel to “punish those who disagree with thee” verbiage in less than two years? What went wrong to turn a self-avowed unifier into Divider-in-Chief? I know it’s tempting, but it would be a stretch to blame it on Bush.

If Obama is the Christian he claims to be, is he not commanded to love -not punish- his enemies? Regardless of religious affiliation, once sworn in, a president becomes the president to all citizens. The Constitution does not offer presidential privilege to cherry-pick friends and enemies based upon ideology. That type of behavior is more at home in a Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany, Hussein’s Iraq, Ahmadinejad’s Iran or Castro’s Cuba.

While this is currently Obama’s America, Obama’s presidency will eventually fail because America’s founding was based upon unity and equality. The Declaration of Independence reminds us that America’s strength is found in our diversity. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator [not the government] with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Obama’s campaign theme of hope and change was prophetic. America changed with record high unemployment, government takeovers of private business and healthcare, failed Stimulus bills, steroidal federal government growth, and out-of-control debt. And yet, America still has hope that things will get better – we’ve weathered similar storms. Although our current president seems bent on dividing us ideologically between “friends” and “enemies,” our forefathers knew America’s strength would be in her unity when they told us to “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

6 Responses to Strength in Diversity, not Division

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  • Will we ever learn the value of diversity? The Chevy Nova was almost impossible to sell in Spanish speaking countries because the non-diverse marketeers didn’t realize that Nova (no va) meant “no go” in Spanish! Likewise, Gerber did not realize that in many places around the world where the population is highly illeterate, the picture on the jar is of the jar’s contents! While it’s quite true that there is an absolute truth – an absolute “best” way; it is also highly probable that we don’t know it – at least not completely. We need various perspectives, opinions, examples, pieces of evidence, etc. to make progress toward the goal of knowing the best way. We need to understand the value of constantly evaluating our progress and making adjustments to our methods.

    One of the biggest hurdles is defining our goals. We can’t even begin to agree on them, it seems. We can’t seem to agree on the purpose of government – national, state, or local. If we don’t know where we are going, any road will get us there. We can’t agree on our inalienable rights. We can’t agree on what the inalienable rights partially enumerated in the Declaration of Independence (life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness) or the first ten amendments to the Constitution actually mean. Until we are able to put aside our “my way,” “me first,” “look out for number one,” mentality and realize that God created each of us, loves each of us equally, and has a purpose for humanity as a whole as well as each person individually, we are condemed to suffer the internal (inter and intra people group, country, state, city) strife we see all around. We are way too gullable in believing those who would take advantage of our selfishness by pandering to our tendency to take the easiest path, carry the lightest load, and go the shortest distance. We too often opt for following the one who promises to do the most for us without looking at the total cost and the bigger picture. If we listen to each other, perhaps we will understand the bigger picture, God’s plan, and be able to come to agreement on goals and methods, and avoid those who would suck us into their various camoflaged Ponzi schemes.

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