By: Quod Libet

Twenty years ago, a young senator spoke of unity at the Democrat National Convention. The message was simple. We are a diverse people, but it’s American unity that makes us great. To quote then-senator Obama:

“E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one. Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin-masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America – there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. The pundits like to slice and dice our country into Red States and Blue States, Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes; all of us defending the United States of America.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, and I totally agree, but my… how things have changed. It’s remarkable that two short decades later, the party of Barack Obama now plays that same record backward, symbolically, and practically kicking unity to the curb in favor of woke diversity. Bad idea. Whether those eloquent words were sincere or not, they remain hauntingly prophetic. While the Japanese Navy was celebrating their near-total victory at Pearl Harbor, Hirohito’s wisest admiral solemnly opined, “I’m afraid all we’ve done was to awaken a sleeping giant.” Americans are diverse by nature, not necessarily by design. It was an unselfish, nationalistic, committed sense of coming together that energized the war effort. Selfless national unity won WWII, not woke diversity. Diversity didn’t make us the “shining city on the hill” as Ronald Reagan proudly articulated, unity did.

Advanced exclusively by left-leaning activists, DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) is the “new deal” sweeping the nation. Thanks in part to a laudatory press, DEI is being widely promoted, accepted, and implemented in liberal circles across the country. At first blush, and without analytical scrutiny, these harmless-sounding words seem alright. One might ask, “What’s wrong with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?” Such questions are rhetorical in nature and require no answer, but is DEI really an innovative social justice cure-all meant to unite us, or a somewhat less auspicious contrivance designed (and destined) to divide us? Many informed observers are rightly concerned that the advocates of woke diversity sit astride a high horse whose course is a low road.

America isn’t just a place, it’s an idea of sorts, one which is straightforward and time-tested. We are a nation of individuals, not an olla podrida of fragmented special-interest, and grievance groups, in rigorous opposition to one another, as woke theory suggests. Are we fated to be bricks in a woke wall? “All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.” (Roger Waters). Americans are intended to be like natural stones, each is a unique individual, unlike all others, each with his/her own intrinsic value and peculiar qualities. And as different as these stones may be, when they’re assembled and cemented together in the unifying custom of America (the melting pot) an impenetrable fortress rises and stands in defiance of any and all adversaries, foreign and domestic.

We are the United States of America. Unity is in our name, not diversity. The unity that made us great arose from diversity, consequently American unity is the ideal, diversity is simply a naturally occurring condition that we set aside in order to achieve greatness. We don’t abandon our diversity in the process, but we prioritize it. Unity must come above diversity if we are to remain states united. Apparently, we’ve lost that objective, and division is the inevitable result of our mis-prioritization. Just look around, have we ever been more divided? Consensus around common interests has given way to deep polarization that is disunifying and often bitter.

Bill Maher’s comments shed light on this regrettable state of affairs, “We have reached this place where each side thinks the other side is an existential threat. You hear that term from both sides all the time. That is just a terrible place to be. Because we find ourselves in this situation where both sides are literally siding with enemies of America rather than the opposition party within the country.”

Partisan brinksmanship has replaced collegiality from the highest levels of leadership to the rank and file. America is now an “us versus them” society and it saddens those who recognize the misapplication of diversity at the expense of unity.

We have a right-wing and a left-wing. In theory, they should balance each other out to keep us safely down the middle of the road. When they pull together, we fly, when they refuse to do so motivated by pure partisanship, we end up in one ditch or the other. In a nation of immigrants, diversity is the natural order of things. We are diverse automatically, and that’s not a problem per se. Diversity can be an asset, as long as we understand that our interests are better (and only) served by unity. No one’s advocating that we abandon our diversity, by all means, keep it. If your individuality and that of others is important to you, protect it, and revel in it if you wish. Bring it to the table proudly. Then humbly set it aside, acknowledging that if our nation is to succeed and prosper, a broad spectrum of diverse people must find a way to be unified. We can do it once we see the need.

I’m not generally in agreement with Bill Maher, but to his credit, he now lobs bombs at both sides. In a recent interview, Bill shared his candid, albeit unfiltered thoughts, “But it’s not like the Left hasn’t changed also,” he admitted. “So, I’m going to call it out wherever I see it. I mean, there are things that have to do with, gender and race and free speech, and just ideas about, you know, that gender is always a social construct and maybe we should give communism another try and maybe we should get rid of capitalism and the Border Patrol. And let’s tear down statues of Lincoln and get rid of the police. Just, you know, no. It’s not that I’ve gotten old, it’s that your ideas are stupid.”

Stupid ideas abound on both sides of the political aisle. Based upon thoughtful examination and critical analysis, many have concluded that woke DEI is a notion and a plan that falls into the stupid idea category. That’s a subject for disagreement, but it’s also one that begs for a temperate discussion.

A few more surprising words of wisdom from Bill, “They’re wrong. I mean, they’re wrong and the kids are crazy. It’s interesting, they have this idea the younger generation, maybe every generation does, that just because something is new makes it better and that’s not true. New is not synonymous with better.”

Of course, DEI is a “new” concept, and as such it’s untested, experimental, and undeniably controversial. It may be wise to evaluate the “old” system, identifying its advantages and its flaws (if any). Then juxtapose the “new” DEI template alongside the time-honored system of E Pluribus Unum before we dispense with our traditions in favor of unexplored theory. Is “Out of Many, One” the problem, or has deviating from it become the problem? A respectful dialogue is called for regarding DEI, its theory, its implementation, and its potential ramifications, those intended and especially those unintended. We should look before undertaking this “Great Leap Forward.”

Nowadays, there are those who propose to “Build Back Better.” Nobody’s opposed to improvement, but a few questions are in order to determine the best plan to achieve the desired end. Should we painstakingly restore what is in need of restoration or would demolition and rebuilding better serve our purposes and interests? Before we consign E Pluribus Unum to the junkyard of history, replacing it with DEI, we really ought to be sure that the former is obsolete, and the latter is its optimal replacement. Careful analysis of both coupled with an open national debate is needed to determine our course and by extension, our destiny. Let’s proceed thusly, for our own interests, for those of our children, and for the continued well-being of this once great nation.

A final thought: We need to be able to respectfully discuss DEI and other issues like adults. Our countrymen with whom we disagree are not our enemies to be scorned, derided, and canceled. If we can’t disagree and still remain agreeable, then we’re not really Americans. Civil discourse ought to be an American prerequisite.

Roseanne Barr was a guest on The Tonight Show hosted by Jimmy Fallon. With a tone that was at once sad and serious, Jimmy displayed his deep concern for Roseanne, suggesting to her that people might not like her if she supported Trump for President. He acted so melancholy that such a reprobating fate might befall Rosey. He seemed appreciably more worried about it than she did. Her response was perfect, and it made my day. “Oh yeah, people are mad about that. But, you know, I don’t give a f**k.” Neither do I Rosey, neither do I.