Question for Colin Kaepernick

My cousin Bob Foote has a question for Colin Kaepernick and other athletes protesting the American flag because of how this country treats black people:

During the Civil War, some 500,000 men gave their lives to end slavery.  They fought and died under what flag?

The 9/11 attacks 15 years later

Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  I remember the shock and the horror of that day, watching it all unfold on television.  I also remember the unity that Americans felt in the aftermath–how we all pulled together, the emotions we all shared, from grief about those 3,000 who died to inspiration from those rescue workers who gave their own lives for others.  There was a palpable sense of patriotism in the days that followed the attacks, uniting conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, ordinary folks and the cultural elite.

I even thought that postmodernism might be over.  People were talking about good and evil, as if they were moral absolutes.  There wasn’t much moral relativism or cultural relativism when it came to the terrorists and what they did to our country.  And those planes flying into those buildings were not a “construction” of our own minds.  Truth must exist after all.

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Trump’s ideology test will require belief in gay rights

In a major speech on immigration and fighting ISIS, Donald Trump said that he would set up a system of “extreme vetting” for immigrants who wish to enter the United States.  This would include an ideological test to measure the extent to which the immigrant agrees with American values.  These will include belief in gay rights.

The tests will also require belief in gender equality, tolerance, and pluralism.

Notice the shift in what “American values” means.  So all Americans throughout our history, including the founders of the nation, before the recent rise of feminism and the gay rights era, did not have “American values.”

Then consider:  Would Donald Trump let you get into the country? [Read more…]

Who’ll win the Irish vote?

We keep getting told that demographics favor the Democrats and look bad for the Republicans, as America becomes more ethnically diverse, a phenomenon particularly evident in the growing Hispanic vote.  But Josh Gelertner gives us a history lesson putting all of this into context.

He points out that ever since the machine politics of Boss Tweed in the 1850s, Democrats have pandered to immigrants fresh off the boat in exchange for their votes.  Thus the Irish became an important part of the Democratic base.  The same thing happened with the next wave of immigrants, the Italians.  But after awhile, each of these groups assimilated into American culture, whereupon they stopped voting exclusively for the Democrats.

He then argues that the same thing will happen to Hispanics–indeed, that it has already started to happen.  Today, no one talks about the Irish or the Italian vote, though they used to.  The same thing, Gelertner says, will happen with all immigrant groups. The American melting pot keeps working.

Read his argument after the jump, including how anti-Hispanic sentiment today is similar to the anti-Irish and anti-Italian sentiment of the past.  Does he have a point, or is he too sanguine about immigration?

He seems to assume that cultural assimilation happens naturally.  In the past, America worked hard to “Americanize” its immigrants.  This was a major task for schools.  As late as my day, we had lots of American history (in which Americans were portrayed as good guys), required Civics classes (teaching the Constitution and the workings of Democracy), and even lessons in “Americanism” (Cold War anti-communism, including the superiority of individualism over collectivism, free market economics over socialism, and freedom over regimentation).  Instead, schools today teach multiculturalism. Cultural assimilation is impossible if there is no particular culture to assimilate to.

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A national conversation

The shootings of the last few weeks–of black suspects; of police–have at least provoked what has seemed to be impossible:  a national conversation over race.

We have black people defending the police; gun rights activists defending a black man shot by police; liberals questioning their extreme rhetoric; conservatives showing empathy for both sides.  Moving outside the usual categories is a helpful thing, if we are going to face up to our problems and do something about them.  So says conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg. . . . [Read more…]

USA is now the Saudi Arabia of oil