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Posts published in “Day: March 10, 2015”

Melting pot no more

rainey BARRETT


Political divisiveness and national polarization are, in my mind, the two most destructive forces in our country today. Much has been said and written about both. But, let’s add a third: the death of the American “melting pot.”

I grew up with lots of native born kids - Mexican-American, Japanese-American, a set of Canadian twins, a couple of Jews and others thrown into that grade school. Different? Who knew? We were kids accepting the world around us as the natural order of things. Teachers often mentioned the “melting pot” of America and we were taught that was a good thing.

No more. Like the hula hoop, 78rpm records and poodle skirts, the concept of blending races, relations and even political thought in one great goulash of citizenship just a memory. We’re a poorer nation for it. Much poorer.

In the 1800's, large eastern cities grew larger and stronger with the mingling concept. A new nation was growing and work and talents of many races and creeds were needed. Then, early in the 1900's, cities became more divided along ethnic lines. Jews, Oriental, Norwegian, Irish, European and all the rest became neighborhoods of similar language, custom and religion. Still supporting the larger city concept by their labors, but evolving into more well-defined cultures in which to live. Together but separate.

Still, the idea of America being a “melting pot” persisted for a long, long time. As we grew, small communities started out mixing races and creeds. But, somewhere along the line, they started splintering.

In Pocatello, Blacks that worked the passenger trains lived east of downtown in one neighborhood. Same for railroad workers in Nampa and Boise. Early migrants coming to Idaho to work the crops set up little groups outside the established communities of Twin Falls, American Falls, Gooding, Caldwell - keeping largely to themselves.

Now we have deliberate separations. Not just neighborhoods but radio, TV channels, print media, individual dress. Even language. We’re a nation of “tribes.” The confluence of a “melting pot” has disappeared. Now there are parts of cities - not necessarily large cities, either - where races of different skin colors or religious beliefs don’t go. We’re walled out.

Something else began to divide us even deeper some years back - religious separation. Most who participate in lives of faith were taught to accept the belief practices of others. After all, our founders made it very clear this nation would not have an established religion and - in the spirit of those who first came here to avoid religious persecution - we would be tolerant and acceptive of all others. True then. But not now. Not for many.

Not only have religion and politics become bedfellows, some calling themselves “Christians” have separated themselves and use their “faith” practices to hammer the rest of us. No “melting pot” philosophy for them. Their “way” is the “only way” and they’ve used their divisive “faith” to create laws and stifle rights of citizenship for “non-believers.” Those being fellow Americans with different skin color, different languages, different religious practices. Or no practices at all. (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Reviewing West Ada school bond plan (Boise Statesman)
Rusche tele-health bill nearly clearing legislature (Lewiston Tribune)
Local broadband deals may be much less expensive (Nampa Press Tribune, Lewiston Tribune)
19 wolves killed so far in Lolo area (Lewiston Tribune)
Colfax may launch farmers market (Moscow News)
House Republicans consider new road fund plan (Nampa Press Tribune)
Local districts holding school bond elections (TF Times News, Pocatello Journal)
Rewrite of state concealed weapons law proposed (TF Times News)

Eugene considers train silent zone downtown (Eugene Register Guard)
Springfield works on Main Street safety (Eugene Register Guard)
High school program aimed at college on block (Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News)
KF Gospel mission may move from downtown area (KF Herald & News)
Medford plans limits on pot plant height (Medford Tribune)
Hermiston electric rate rise 11% (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Some tribes can now prosecute some non-members (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Boardman home buying program gains steam (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Standarized tests made more challenging (Portlad Oregonian)
Boise Cascade mixed use development in motion (Salem Statesman Journal)

Coal port bonds supported in Wyoming (Vancouver Columbian, Bellingham Herald)
New talks start over grizzly bear recovery (Bellingham Herald)
Former Port Orchard mayor to head Allyn port (Bremerton Sun)
Edmonds city and port work on transport lobbying (Everett Herald)
Cowlitz Tribe get fed approval for reservation (Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Rally for propane terminal draws 100 people (Longview News)
Possible new private elementary school in Longview (Longview News)
Too few psychiatrists at state hospital (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Seattle police sheakes up executive ranks (Seattle Times)
New design planned for Spokane riverfront park (Spokane Spokesman)
Question of who can file suit for Pierce County (Tacoma News Tribune)
Plan would like teacher pay to local living cost (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima junior water rights estimated at 73% (Yakima Herald Republic)