Celebrating America’s “melting pot” on July 4

We have enjoyed taking our son on some patriotic outings this past year. Some were more upbeat than others, but all of them offered a point of discussion about America. We went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York. We visited the Statue of Liberty and read Emma Lazarus’ famous poem “The New Colossus” on a brass plaque together.

On another adventure last month, we visited the Freedom Trail in Boston. We stopped at Faneuil Hall, where John Adams and others encouraged independence from Great Britain, and we stood on the site of the Boston Massacre.

We toured the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and saw exhibits about about the struggle for civil rights. In the past we have visited Washington D.C., where we saw the Declaration of Independence in the National Archives building and walked on the Capitol Mall.

Back home, at the dinner table, we also discussed some monumental decisions in America stemming from recent news. Last month, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage a right for all Americans. The Episcopal church, where I grew up going to church, authorized their clergy to perform same-sex weddings.

Meanwhile, a debate about the Confederate flag forced Americans to do some soul searching about racial intolerance. And last month, we also learned that Hispanics are now California’s largest ethnic group.

We are at a crossroads in America: personalization on digital devices (iPhones, Kindles and so on) and news outlets such as Fox News allow us to see and hear what we want, or to hang out with our like-minded friends and business associates, rather than encourage us to embrace the “melting pot” that defined America in the first place — sometimes more uncomfortable to handle.

At the same time we are becoming bigger, we are becoming smaller.

All of this comes in a nation that is known for welcoming people from many different countries, races, and religions, all hoping to find freedom, new opportunities, and a better way of life.

To be sure, America is still a work in progress.

I look at hundreds of photos in our business, and the one I found this morning — pictured here — sums up America well: Smiling girls hugging in front of a chalk-colored American flag. I hope you enjoy the Fourth of July!

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

4 thoughts on “Celebrating America’s “melting pot” on July 4”

  1. The Union seems to continue struggling with the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, which it buried on page 11, no doubt reflecting its core readership. This morning in an editorial, the newspaper chooses to quote Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: “The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said. “If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court.”

  2. Jindal Jerk should talk about saving $$$$$$$$ when he put Louisiana in debt by $11/2 billion and rising, another Norquist believer and the Trickle Down Theory.

  3. In reading the Editorial Boards 4th of July commentary today, they give a back door SOJ interpretation of their own “idea” of Independence. They reference a Senators remarks about how “Citizens United ” was an example of radical judicial activism, as an analogy for an out of context, veiled comparison, to the recent same sex and ACA decisions. That somehow those decisions are in the same solar system, as far as “they’re” ideology, Citizens United taking the rest of the lid off of unlimited money in our political system wasn’t bad, but oh Nelly we turned the corner when we gave health insurance coverage to those that don’t have it, or gave equality to same sex couples with right to marry.
    At last the “Board” says to ” at least this one day of 2015, let us strip ourselves of political stripes” And then—- they do a “Constitutional Scholar” on us, by taking a passage from, well you could guess, – “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another” the next passage gives reference to the “Laws of Nature” as the quote they leave us with-
    Strip ourselves of political stripes? When this is the first ink they’ve given to these decisions?

    If they were all on the same float at the parade, would one tomato do?
    Happy 4th everyone-

  4. It would be interesting to see who remains on The Union’s Editorial Board. We ran into NEO co-founder Halli Ellis, who told us she had stepped down. (She said she was “too busy.”) Cheryl Cook also left, as we reported before.

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