God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Strength of Rainbows

Friday Ken and I were out and about doing "things." Following the course we set for ourselves in our Italian year, we stopped for lunch--not at a small, countryside trattoria or osteria but at one of the thousand of fast food places available in the USA. This time selecting "the fresh Asian Kitchen" Pick Up Stix.

Diversion: Contrary to what people in other countries perceive about the junk food society of the United States, there are chain restaurants that offer relatively healthy food. If this isn't one, we like to think it is--after all they only use "fresh ingredients."

As we sat there, I looked around and was forcibly reminded of one of the great and unique strengths of this country--the extraordinary diversity of our people. We are a land like no other in many ways--and I readily admit that not all the ways are good or admirable but many, many are.

It struck me Friday that as much as I love Italy, the richness of cultural differences and ethnic contributions does not truly exist there. Although there are many nationalities living there, what each has to offer has not yet entered into the fabric of the country.

I understand why this is. Italy is an old country with genealogies and history of a people going back hundreds of years, the homogenizing taking place over many of these centuries to form "italian." Yes, there are regional differences reflecting cultures that formed them but it is not the same as here in the US.

This is not to say or even imply that all is harmonious here--hardly. But, we are a people and a nation that in its formative years was referred to as a "melting pot." Somehow in this process, ethnic values often were retained as unity was established. As more country groups join us, we continue to struggle with achieving equality and fairness, but, this is a concept that most citizens recognize as important and necessary--even though the means to achieve it remains elusive.

Yesterday I was reminded of these thoughts when a Hillary Clinton campaign flyer found its way to my mailbox. In it was a picture that encapsulates the dream and hope of the United States. The strength that comes with rainbows of color.

This picture can be seen today in the United States. Not all the time; not every where but we're getting better. Hopefully, the world-at-large will get better along with us.


Anonymous said...

Wherever there is not a diversity of people and cultures, I think I would come to miss it after awhile. I am in NY where diversity is everywhere. I felt strange in some parts of the south.

Jane said...

Hi Maryann, yes, there are great differences in diversity in this country. California has much more and has assimilated much more than probably anywhere else. So,maybe I should have been more limiting in what I said.

Texas Espresso said...

Nice post. I think our diversity is our greatest strength but we certainly have a long ways to go. I never realized how lucky I was in this diversity until I went to college - being in Texas and in a large metroplex, there were always a wide range of ethnicities and cultures.

When a couple of my Italian husbands friends came to visit they wanted to have "American food". Ughh... American food? maybe a hamburger or hot dog? What is American food? We are such a mix of everything I was at a loss as to where to take them. I think that is cool =)

Jane said...

Jennifer (I think--tell me if my memory fails.) American food? Maybe Texas barbecue? Brownies? Rice Crispies? Sad lot, isn't it?

Eden said...

Hi Jane,

When I attended my first GTG, I was surprised that I may have been the only person of color in the group. (I think I was.) That said, I felt most welcomed.

As a teacher, my classroom is also reflective of the diversity of the place I live, maybe an overrepresentation (even) of the children of color. Somehow, parents find comfort in requesting to have their children placed in my classroom; esp. those who are newly arrived to this country.

Jane said...

Hi Eden, it's fun to hear from you. I bet your classroom is a delight for all the kids--regardless where they are on the rainbow. It's a special teacher whom parents ask for. See you in Savannah?