Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 22, 2009 / 26 Teves 5769

Obama inauguration speech sent the wrong message on diversity

By Michael Barone


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Of course, you've all heard or read Barack Obama's inaugural speech. It's the subject of my forthcoming digital U.S. News column, in which I suggest that Obama may get the same kind of positive response from the public that John F. Kennedy did 48 years ago. Here, where I've got unlimited space, I'd like to make another point.


Near the end of the speech, Obama said that "our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth." This sounds unobjectionable, and most of it is. We are a nation of multiple religions, and it's nice to include Muslims and Hindus and nonbelievers. Heck, the place of worship closest to my parent's condominium in Troy, Mich., is a Hindu temple. And, yes, we are shaped to some limited extent by every language and culture.


But we're influenced much more by one language and by one culture than any other, the English language and what the late Samuel Huntington called the Anglo-Protestant culture. In my 2001 book, The New Americans, I talked about how different peoples — Irish, Italians, Jews, blacks, Latinos, Asians — have been or are being interwoven into the American fabric; I was more optimistic than Huntington that Latinos were being and could be so interwoven. The weaving metaphor still strikes me as a good one, better than the melting pot — how many people these days know what a melting pot is? — because it suggests that the basic character of the fabric remains pretty much the same, with different accents. And that is pretty much what has happened. David Hackett Fischer, in his splendid Albion's Seed, shows how the cultural folkways that different groups of colonial Americans brought from different parts of the British Isles have persisted to this day. Michael Dukakis's parents were born in Greece, but he's a recognizable New England Yankee in his cultural attitudes.


So when Obama says, "We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth," he's not far away from plugging the multicultural idea, more prevalent in Western Europe than here in America, that every culture has the same moral worth — except maybe ours, which is worse. That's a very dangerous and wrongheaded way of thinking. And it's directly contrary to the way our first black president — and our first Catholic one — won their elections. Kennedy excelled and Obama excels at speaking the English language. The civic culture they mastered was our Anglo-Protestant culture, despite the fact that one went to a Catholic church and the other's father was a citizen of Kenya (and not, I think, as people tend to say, an immigrant: I presume he was in the United States on a student visa, and we know that he went home to Kenya and participated in politics there). Kennedy and Obama won because they did not fit the negative stereotypes of their ethnic groups, just as Margaret Thatcher won in Britain not because she was warm and cuddly but because she was the Iron Lady. Kennedy seemed more like an English lord than an Irish pol (one of his sisters was engaged to the marquis of Hartington), and Obama seemed more like a law professor than a ghetto protester.


I don't want to make too much of this. Elsewhere in his speech, Obama referred movingly to American history. His peroration featured a quotation from George Washington at Valley Forge. Overall, he's an excellent example of someone with a foreign heritage being interwoven into the American fabric. So let's make it clear. We're not every country. We are, as the slogan for the inaugural festivities put it, One.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

BARONE'S LATEST
The New Americans  

Now, more than ever, the melting pot must be used to keep America great. Barone attacks multiculturalism and anti-American apologists--but he also rejects proposals for building a wall to keep immigrants out, or rounding up millions of illegals to send back home. Rather, the melting pot must be allowed to work (as it has for centuries) to teach new Americans the values, history, and unique spirit of America so they, too, can enjoy the American dream.. Sales help fund JWR.

JWR contributor Michael Barone is a columnist at U.S. News & World Report. Comment by clicking here.




Michael Barone Archives

© 2006, US News & World Report

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles