One of the things that has really bothered me in 2016, and not just within the realm of the presidential election, is that we’ve regressed so much in our fear of the Other – our fear of people who are not the same as us, who are different, who are unknown. It’s a frightening level of tribalism that Erick Erickson brought up at his site, and as he mentioned, it is not just limited to the alt-Right.
Now, there are some groups that we have very good reasons to be afraid of. Islamic extremists, for example, have been terrorizing people not just here, but across the globe. They have done so by making use of a massive migration from their region of the world to other countries. We also have good reason to fear white supremacists, who believe they are mainstream again because of certain dogwhistles Donald Trump uses (knowingly or unknowingly) that appeal to them.
But an outright fear of Muslims, white people, black people, cops, Mexicans, and any other group that has been on the receiving end of a ton of rhetoric this year? That’s dangerous. It takes away the American identity. The idea that America is made up of different people doing different things differently because we have the freedom to.
The American identity is gumbo.
If you have never had gumbo before, then you have missed out on one of the key reasons Louisiana cooking is better than just about anything else. It is a stew that is comprised of some key essentials, but the rest is pretty much up to you, depending on your tastes. Some people use chicken and andouille sausage, some use various seafoods, some use duck. It’s up to you.
But, the ingredients in gumbo don’t just blend together to create one uniform taste. They remain individual and, though different, contribute to a unique taste that is virtually impossible to find anywhere else. The rice, roux, celery, bell pepper, onion, okra, sausage, chicken (or duck or crab or whatever), hot sauce, and whatever else you might toss in are all different in terms of taste.
This year threatens to reinforce the idea that certain people who are different or believe different things should not be a part of society. And you can’t say it’s just Trump supporters because they want to kick all the Mexicans out or whatever. We are repeatedly told by the Left that those who don’t share their beliefs or views should be removed from the public. Hillary Clinton herself has said that Christianity needs to change its beliefs. People who don’t believe in man-made climate change are regularly harassed and targeted for their “heretical” beliefs.
Creating a society like that isn’t what America was founded upon. The fact that it was founded upon ideas and being different than the rest of the world is significant. It was never meant to be a place of uniform thought, belief, race, creed, etc.
What I’m saying is this: We need to Make America Gumbo Again.