by Jimmy Crawford, Esq. Contributing Writer

Yes, soup can save America. America is suffering from an epidemic of divisiveness – we see it every day in the news, in politics, in everyday life. Republicans fight Democrats, Democrats fight Republicans, heck, even Republicans fight Republicans. Gen Z’ers fight Boomers. Boomers fight kids on their lawns. We could name dozens more factions and groups that disagree and argue and dispute what America stands for and what the American Dream means today. To an extent, such debate is a wonderful and necessary part of our republic, however, today it seems evident we have lost our way, and that there could be an awful near future reckoning for our discord and disunion.

But the core solution is simple, even if the details of implementing the solution may not be. It is soup.

That is how America started, and even more so how it grew into the world’s superpower, the world’s first and greatest example of freedom and a government of and by the people. The United States today has citizens from virtually every ethnic group and each of the 192 recognized nations on Earth.  There are today approximately 19 million naturalized U.S. citizens, born in another country but choosing to be American. As is often noted, everyone in America is an immigrant except Native Americans, who make up 2.9% of the U.S. population – so 97.1% of us are immigrants. And don’t give that “came over on the Mayflower” argument – you came from immigrants.

We came from amazingly diverse nations and communities. We came mostly poor and downtrodden, seeking a chance for a better life for ourselves and our children. The first generation almost always seeks its own in community, which makes perfect sense.  We don’t know the language, the culture, the customs, even the laws. Then, our children go to school and live in the larger communities, and become much more “American” and much less Chinese/Zambian/Columbian etc. etc. But we don’t become identical to each other. Good.

On the other hand, there have been many attempts at salad bowl nations. These are often put together by the victors of wars, to meet the needs and wants not of the governed people, but of those victors. For example, in 1884 fourteen European nations met in Berlin and ‘divided’ Africa into artificial slices for their colonization and plunder. The result has been dozens of ethnic wars, including Hutus slaughtering over one million Tutsis in 1994 in Rwanda (Rwanda and Burundi were defined and ‘given’ to Germany at the Berlin Conference in exchange for Germany repudiating claims on Uganda).

Yugoslavia was created in 1918 out of the ashes of World War I Europe, from communities of at least six different ethnic groups, all occasional historic enemies forcibly bound together in an artificial nation. The result was constant strife, sectarian and religious violence, culminating in the Bosnian war, the Kosovo war, the breakup of Yugoslavia, and the death of over one hundred thousand civilians.

Salad bowls. Croats stay Croats and hate the Serbs. Muslims hate Christians, Christians hate Muslims. Hutus hate Tutsis. On and on.

That is not historic America. We are called a Melting Pot — but that isn’t really true. We are not a homogenous mishmash. What we are, at least what we are at our best, is a soup. Let’s assume Poles are potatoes (sorry, Irish), Italians are tomatoes, Germans are beef, Japanese are Bok choy, and so on. The raw dirt of America is the vegetable stock. Each ingredient comes to the soup and takes on attributes of the stock and of all the other ingredients. But it doesn’t melt. It doesn’t disappear. The potato and carrot remain recognizable potato and carrot, with some of their original flavor and some of the soup flavor. They add to the flavor of the soup without losing their own.

That is what has made America great. We aren’t one monoculture of “Americans” but we are all Americans, quite many of us by individual choice. Let’s not diss the green beans or try to make them not taste like green beans. Green beans are wonderful, and if you heat them with some almonds, maybe some lemon, they might even become something more wonderful. Put them in a soup, stir, and simmer just right, and we might wind up with heaven on Earth. American Soup.  Long Live the USA.

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