If preventing the spread of Brucellosis by bison herds is the primary concern by Yellowstone officials, have they considered an inoculation program for all bison calves?
Dairy herds in the United States are required to be Certified Brucellosis-Free and are tested yearly. Infected cows are killed. Young dairy stocks are vaccinated to reduce the chance of transmission of the disease. Proof of vaccination is tattooed on the calf’s ear with the birth year.
Wild bison and elk in the Greater Yellowstone region are the last remaining reservoir for Brucellosis in the US; therefore, an aggressive vaccination program to target the young could be initiated and prevent the senseless slaughter and preserve two of the great indigenous wild species in America. Limiting factors could be cost, access to the young calves, and feasibility for long term success. Still, it’s something to think about.
Native Americans gather in protest
In anticipation of the yearly cull, Native American activists gathered in Montana's capital as early as last February to protest the deaths of hundreds of Yellowstone National Park bison to be killed this year to ease the worries of Montana ranchers about a cattle disease carried by park buffalo.
The demonstration marked a week of protests over federal-state management of Yellowstone bison that entails culling the herd each winter when some animals cross from the park into neighboring Montana in search of food, according to a report in Reuters.
"This is a new beginning to protect the bison and other wildlife in Indian country," Jimmy St. Goddard, a self-described spiritual leader of the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana, said in a telephone interview from outside the Montana Capitol in Helena to Reuters.
As of February 2015, 300 bison had already been sent for slaughter. Rick Wallen, lead wildlife biologist for Yellowstone's bison program, said in a statement at the time that cutting bison numbers was required to accommodate concerns expressed by surrounding states and “that they really didn’t want wild bison outside the national park.”
Pros and Cons of Culling
National Geographic tackled the pros and cons of culling animals in a story in 2014. “What's driving these high-profile culling programs? Are they necessary? Can they be done ethically? And what's at the heart of the debate between their proponents and their detractors?”
They recognized that culling practices are driven by the loss of open spaces. Wild herds like the bison are confined to human configured boundaries, which they call “gigantic zoos.” Federal preserves like Yellowstone are, indeed spaces for animals, but also for spectators from all over the world who visit Yellowstone anticipating a glimpse at our nation’s indigenous buffalo.
Before the advent of modern civilization, nature was the culler of wildlife species, and still is to some extent. “If an animal becomes superabundant in a limited habitat, they're going to have either a die-off from starvation or some pathogen that will take advantage of their vulnerabilities. Then there's hunting by predators, including humans,” they wrote.
Animals can be brought back from the brink of extinction like the Canada geese and the white-tailed deer; but similar to humans, animals can become victims of their own success and become so abundant that they then become a threat to the survival of other species and to their own populations.
Still, can we say culling is a sign of the success of the conservation movement or political acquiescence to cattle ranchers?
Is there such a thing as an ethical kill?
A report from the United Kingdom mentioned in the National Geographic article decried the inhumane killing of badgers.
Animal ethicists consider the avoidance of suffering to be primary, rather than the avoidance of death. For example, killing an animal with a sharpshooter is better than torturing the animal in a “protracted and disruptive capture” causing unnecessary fear and pain. Contact should be minimal and humane.
Any culling or capture program should be with evidence-based rationale for removal, “not wishful thinking.” Any program should anticipate risks and make the goal disease reduction or achieve sustainable and monitored populations.
Putting the desires of ranchers aside, there are two distinct ethical philosophies: the people committed to wildlife conservation and animal rights advocates. Many times they are at loggerheads because animal rights’ groups believe every animal should have the right to live, and conservation practices, including culling, consider the preservation of ecosystems not only the individual animal.
There are no definitive conclusions in this report. Modern civilization has created artificial habitats, and they must be managed or lose biodiversity as well as wildlife populations.
For me, it’s not so important that we condemn culling or capture programs, but more important how the programs are planned and implemented. For bison, have all alternative avenues for controlling Brucellosis been explored like vaccinating calves? Are cattle ranchers more concerned with Brucellosis infection or bison grazing on cattle land—land that might be leased federal land in some cases. Is it possible an aggressive vaccination program might eventually eradicate Brucellosis?
There are no easy answers to any of these questions, and scientific and ethical inquiry are valued for oversight of disease reduction and preservation of wildlife populations.
They support public education as a prime directive, not allowing it to devolve into a voucher system eroding the right of all children to equal education access. Sen. Sanders wants free education from K-through four year college. Mrs. Clinton opposes vouchers, but has not committed to free four year college education. She and President Barack Obama joined Sen. Sanders in his call for free community college and an end to predatory student loan lending.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Keystone Oil Pipeline are not supported by either candidate or the Democratic Party voters at large because of the potential negative impacts on American workers and the environment. The consistent message is how the American worker will be adversely impacted.
Considered one the most important challenges of US democracy, campaign finance reform and repeal of Citizens United Supreme Court decision are the clarion calls from Sen. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton because it affects how legislators are elected and vote once in office, the efficacy of regulatory agencies in protecting Americans, and the influence of corporations and moneyed interests in government. The Democratic message is totally clear and united. The viability and longevity of democracy must depend on the people’s interests, not corporations.
As presidential elections near, many times one of the criticisms is the candidates in both parties are too much alike. Cynics decry that politicians are all alike and cannot be trusted. In 2016 if the trajectory of the Democrats and Republicans continue along the same lines as exhibited in the last few months—there are definitely going to be differences and a choice. But we are not there yet, and the nominees will not be chosen until next summer. Still, a pattern of distinct dissimilarities is emerging.
The Republicans have their work cut out because they have yet to declare a unified platform message to consolidate the variables of the GOP and preserve a palatable conservative platform all Republicans can rally for, and more importantly be proud to support. One of the problems is individual candidates are appealing to single-issue voters many times culture related, rather than a cohesive multi-faceted base—often reaching out to angry conservative voters who believe they have been cast aside by the liberal-leaning majority of Democrats and some Republicans. Anti-abortion and anti-birth control voters invariably want a candidate who is sympathetic, and they will vote on that issue alone. Attacks on The Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been the vehicle for special interest groups and Congressional Republicans to politicize health care for Americans together with trying to take the ACA hostage over birth control provisions. Internationally health care is provided free as a right in almost all First World democratic countries. This is one example of how the “Party of No” fails the Middle Class and appeals to a niche of fundamentalists with disregard for the majority.
In the last GOP debate on Tuesday Nov. 10, the Republican candidates were consistent in their proposals on one level: On economic policy they put forward a flat tax at varying percentages that most of us already know favors the wealthy. Simply stated 7, 10, or 15 percent flat tax of $36,000 per year income is more disastrous for a family than a family living on $50,000 or more a year. Progressive taxation allows for a range of deductions including child care credits, earned income tax credits, mortgage interest and other deductions that level the taxation field for lower income earners.
The three Republican front runners Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio are against raising the minimum wage, which despite the machinations of the three has not been the economic apocalyptic occurrence they predict. On immigration reform, however, the candidates have failed to deliver a unified stance and remain splintered and chaotic. Gov. John Kasich and Jeb Bush favor comprehensive reform including path to citizenship. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has made immigrant deportation and building a bigger, better, “ beautiful” wall his brand—no matter what experts have to say about the efficacy of walls. Mr. Trump has waxed on about the Chinese Wall, but has carefully not mentioned the Berlin Wall that President Ronald Reagan and Republican icon was influential in bringing down.
The “Fight for 15,” $15 an hour for workers, is a unifying cry for Democrats, but not Republicans. "For many of us, these are workers who we see every day, yet they're invisible," said Harley Shaiken, a UC Berkeley labor expert. "What the Fight for 15 has done is give faces, names and personal stories that many, perhaps most, working Americans can identify with,” according to the LA Times.
The Democrats were “high fiving” on Tuesday as they watched the Republicans jockeying for disparate positions to appease tea party values, single-issue wedge voters, maintenance of corporate domination through low wages and control of Congress that relies on campaign donations and retention of Citizen United Supreme Court decision. All of which the Democrats en masse do not support.
Traditionally after a debate the media identifies who were the winners and losers that participated in the debate. After the Republican debates the losers were the Middle Class, poor, disabled and disenfranchised among us. Safety net programs would be delegated back to the states and probably eliminated meeting the same fate as Medicaid expansion, proliferation of low wage jobs would ensure Middle Class stagnation, education would devolve into a voucher system dismantling public education, women would become hostages of religious fundamentalists, health care for all could cease to exist, more cities would become ghost towns of their former selves, and the emergence of a society of the “haves” and “have-nots” would prevail. Corporations would flourish and every decision made in Washington and States’ governments would be at the altar of big business.
Democrats definitely have a not-so-secret weapon that becomes more powerful as November 2016 gets closer. They are united for the benefit of all Americans, not the moneyed few or those who continue to reject diversity and civil rights. Although Democrats might differ in approach, civility is ever present. And on the lighter foreign policy side—I trust our candidates know why the Egyptian pyramids were built!
A megacity is defined as a metropolitan area with a total population in excess of 10 million people, and they are becoming the focal point to measure the impact of climate change and mass urbanization. The result is a growing population of vulnerable inhabitants whose only choice is migration out of the region to cities and/or countries where they hope they can at least feed their families. Many times, like the European migrations currently because of civil strife in home countries, receiving cities and countries are unprepared and strained to provide adequately for refugees resulting in inadequate housing, food, and health services.
Humanitarianism in itself is not enough if a country is ill-prepared. Environmental migration is very similar with some of the same pitfalls including skepticism and even resentful local populations who view the immigrants as “foreigners” who want to take their jobs and deplete resources. Even environmentally displaced persons within a country create distinctive stressors among disparate religious and cultural populations.
Dhaka, India is a victim of its own modernization complicated by rising sea levels creating a flood plain displacing millions of farmers in the surrounding area who were previously self-sufficient. It’s subsistent living that has served generations until now. Farmers were forced to migrate into the city of Dhaka creating an influx of migrants straining the resources and geography of the city creating an underclass of migrants.
Before mass urbanization, Dhaka was a city of canals and the city could “breathe” in and out the annual flood water that would naturally flow out away from the city. Growth and land fill, however, increased the land masses as the canals were filled in and building construction replaced the natural waterways that prevented flooding of the city and countryside.
In addition bordering India, Bangladesh is estimated to lose 11 per cent of land by 2050 from flooding, soil degradation, rising sea levels and desertification affecting 15 million people who have nowhere to go except India and Dhaka has already become a receiving city for environmental refugees from the country side.
India will be the natural choice for many climate migrants because it has already absorbed millions of Bangladeshi migrants — both legal and illegal — since Bangladesh first came into being in 1971. The 2001 Indian census indicates that of the five million documented migrants living in India at the time, around three million were Bangladeshi.
At present, migration from Bangladesh is the combined result of social, economic, political and environmental factors. Migration patterns will soon become unmanageable if existing practices for handling these migrants continue.
Environmental migration is becoming a salient consequence of climate change and unabated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and poor climate risk adaptation. The scientific consensus is that warming of the climate system is “unequivocal.” With an increase in global temperatures and climatic variability, there is a higher risk of an increase in migration inducing events, such as droughts, desertification, flooding, soil erosion, and transmission of airborne diseases, and other societal and ecological incidents.
Megacities are becoming focal points to study climate change, mass urbanization and the effects of growing vulnerability to environmental and social change as a product of environmental migration. The intersection of climate change and mass urbanization in Megacities hinders timely climate change adaptation impacting the cities directly, as well as the ability to embrace environmental and/or social refugees and displaced persons.
Europe is feeling the pressure now as fear grows that borders will be sealed to prevent migrants escaping civil strife from entering countries where resources are becoming scarce as well as intolerance by regional citizens. Sealing European borders, however, would have to be initiated en masse to prevent the funnel effect of refugees into only a few countries.
Environmental migration in the future will dwarf the civil strife migration patterns Europe is experiencing now. Estimates are conservative that 200 million people could be migrating by 2050 due to environmental conditions.
Some scientists believe the Earth will experience a series of “tipping points” that will be irreversible that require significant unpredictable human migration.
“Worst-case-scenarios” are for the most part inevitable if current economic, social and political stagnation patterns continue with climate change deniers inhibiting progress toward energy sustainability. Migration will no longer be a choice, rather a necessary survival option for individuals in an increasing number of vulnerable regions. Will the 200 million migrants by 2050 be the poor and disenfranchised, while corporate CEOs and the 1 percent escape?
“Hot Cities” television documentary focusing on at risk cities due to climate change and other factors, one of which is Dhaka, India.
Dust bowl migration
The Irish famine
The Dust Bowl in Oklahoma and Arkansas is another example of environmental migration. It was the result of drought and poorly managed and overused agricultural land. Drought first hit the region in 1930. By 1934, it had turned the Great Plains into a desert that came to be known as the Dust Bowl. In the 1930s, farmers from the Midwestern Dust Bowl states, especially Oklahoma and Arkansas, began to move to California; 250,000 arrived by 1940, including a third who moved into the San Joaquin Valley, which had a 1930 population of 540,000. During the 1930s, some 2.5 million people left the Plains states.
These two environmental migrations were different, but they are alike in that the émigrés were mainly the poor and subsistent farmers. Even so, they were not turned away by the receiving regions, and each migration convergence had a long lasting cultural, political and social impact on the regions in which they become citizens.
Supplementing food to the Irish during the famine was complicated by British politics at the time; therefore, refugees immigrated to receiving countries with resources to support the influx. Dust Bowl migrants, however, received a mixed welcome in California as jobs and a better life were not in abundance in the promised “land of milk and honey.” Still, rural, agricultural regions in California became home to those displaced by the Dust Bowl. In 1940, over 40 percent of those who moved to the San Joaquin Valley from the Dust Bowl were farm workers, according to the Census. However, many joined the military or found jobs in factories, so that only 25 percent of Midwestern migrants remained farm workers in 1950.
In the 21st century the world’s poor in densely populated areas are also the most at risk for environmental destruction and extreme weather events as a result of climate change, including coastlines and flood-lines. Climate change threatens areas already suffering from extreme poverty.
"The issue of equity is crucial. Climate affects us all, but does not affect us all equally," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told delegates at a climate conference in Indonesia, according to a World Vision report in 2012.
Powell’s sponsored “Banned Books Week” is September 27 to October 3, and they highlight banned books and various reasons some schools and libraries have made the arbitrary decision to ban a book in Oregon. Powells reviewed hundreds of documented appeals to remove materials from a local public library, school library, or course curriculum. A few of the 30 books identified were challenged in Oregon, along with some details about the objections and outcomes. Here are some of the books subjected to review by famous authors you might recognize.
“Light in the Attic” by the late Shel Silverstein
A perennial favorite, Shel Silverstein's collection of poems was challenged in both the Salem-Keizer Public Schools and the Eagle Point School District, for the possibility of provoking children to "act in opposition to family taught behavior and values" and exposing children to frightening or gory material.
Outcome: Book retained
“Ramona the Brave” by Beverly Cleary
The beloved Ramona Quimby by Oregon's own Beverly Cleary was challenged in 1993 at the Salem-Kezier School District for taking Jesus's name in vain.
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J. K. Rowling
The first part of Rowling's legendary Harry Potter series was released in 1997 and has been challenged countless times since then. It was opposed at Bend's Three Rivers Elementary School in 2000 due to its references to witchcraft and concerns that the book could "lead children to hatred and rebellion."
“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L'Engle
Madeleine L'Engle's Newbery Award–winning classic was challenged in 1990 at the Mid Valley Elementary School in Hood River County on the grounds of sorcery, witchcraft, magic, and having a demonic character.
“Then Again Maybe I Won’t, by Judy Blume
Judy Blume's novel about a boy's turbulent adolescence was challenged at the Salem-Keizer School District in 1989. Reasons: it is a "dismal tale of a young boy's inability to cope and his very inappropriate responses to the changes taking place in his life," and conveys a "detrimental attitude towards a child's natural development and raises questions about sexual arousal that elementary school students are too young to experience and would leave them with the wrong attitude about the opposite sex."
“Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
Alexie's National Book Award–winning first novel for young adults is one of the most frequently challenged books in the country. In 2014, several people challenged its use in the Sweet Home 8th grade language arts class "because of its use of words not allowed by the student code of conduct and its discussion of sexual matters."
Outcome: Retained for 8th graders. The school board voted to keep the book as long as parents were informed of a specific alternative lesson in a timely fashion.
“The Clan of the Cave Bear” by Jean Auel
Auel's prehistoric novel about a group of Neanderthals was challenged by a parent at the Cascade Middle School library in Eugene. Concerns about a rape scene in the book, and that students might try the sexual acts and values depicted in the book, actually led to its removal from the library in 1992.
“Equus” by Peter Shaffer
In 1994, a parent at Redmond High School requested that Peter Shaffer's Tony Award–winning play be removed from a sophomore honors required reading list. The parent disapproved of sexual messages, objectionable language, and "Christian insults."
Outcome: Removed from required list; still on supplemental list with parental permission required, and in the school library.
“The Stand” by Stephen King
King's post-apocalyptic tome faced opposition in 1989 at the Whitford Intermediate School Library in Beaverton, and again in 1997 in the Douglas County Library System, for language, graphic sexual scenes, and violence.
Outcomes: Restricted to ninth-grade students with parental consent at Whitford; retained at Douglas County Library.
Most of the 30 books reviewed were retained with stipulations for only junior high or high school students with parental permission to read.
In addition for recognition of “Banned Books Week” this year, Powells reviewed hundreds of records of challenged materials reported by Oregon schools and libraries over the past 35 years. In the process, they came across some surprising, amusing, and, at times, weirdly specific arguments for banning books.
Here are a few of the 10 particularly strange reasons that demonstrate how absurd it is to let an individual or group determine what books are available to all of us, according to Powells review.
Note: in most cases, the books were not ultimately removed, but in two instances, the outcome was undocumented. You can read all of them on Powells website at the link under resources.
1. Use of aliens to represent weather information: The Book: Earth Weather, as Explained by Professor Xargle by Jeanne Willis
Where It Was Challenged: Multnomah County Library
Full Grievance: "Use of aliens to present weather information; inappropriate for children under 8 years old."
Outcome: Retained by library.
2. "Conjugal love between mice." The Book: 2. Abel's Island by William Steig
Where It Was Challenged: Fairfield Elementary School in Eugene
Full Grievance: "Violence and mention of conjugal love between mice."
Outcome: Retained by school.
3. "Use of an amulet to prevent pregnancy." The Books: 3. Song of the Lioness, Books 1-3 by Tamora Pierce
Where It Was Challenged: David Hill Elementary School in Hillsboro
Full Grievance: "Sexual references and the use of an amulet to prevent pregnancy."
Outcome: Removed by a library staff member but later returned to the shelves.
4. "Teenagers already have trouble with their emotions without being stimulated by poorly written books." The Books: More than 50 Harlequin romances were threatened with removal
Where They Were Challenged: Glide High School library
Full Grievance: "Teenagers already have trouble with their emotions without being stimulated by poorly written books."
In “Fahrenheit 451,” the degree when paper burns, Bradbury creates a universe in conflict between the stagnation of ignorance versus timeliness and stubborn determination to embrace knowledge and save the written word.
The main characters struggle amid these tensions. The fireman’s governmental duty is to destroy knowledge by burning books and promote ignorance in order to equalize the population and promote sameness, not unlike current individuals who try and use censorship to mitigate literary diversity. The fireman is conflicted and encounters people who see the spark of doubt about this approach. His resultant search for knowledge destroys the unquestioning ignorance he used to share with nearly everyone. He confronts the torpid status quo, develops humanity for the greater good and emerges the hero.
Enlightened citizen revolutionaries in the book commit to the preservation of knowledge by memorizing books and go into the forest reciting them, lest the stories be lost forever as books are burned. While books are not being burned today, Powells reminds us of the forces who seek to control what is read compromising the freedom of the local library to be a bastion of American liberty and repository of learning and literature.
If you had to memorize a book, not the Bible or religious text, what would it be? I would memorize “The Odyssey of Homer” because the themes have remained universal and relevant throughout the centuries: Love, Hate, Betrayal, Hospitality, Treachery, Loyalty, Jealousy, Mercy, Reconciliation, and Redemption.
Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story…
Robert Fitzgerald translation The Odyssey of Homer 1961
This kind of ritual is familiar to what many know as “Burning Man” celebrations. The gathering is modernity’s connection with humanity, past and present. In the United States “Burning Man” is a festival of performance art and creativity culminated by burning a symbolic giant human structure made of wood. Its ancient seasonal association, however, is not as prominent.
What is the equinox?
The autumnal equinox is when day and night are approximately equal in length. After Sunday, the hours of daylight will become shorter as the sun will rise later and nightfall sooner.
Our ancestors used the sky as both clock and calendar, as they observed the path of the sun across the sky. They built observatories to track the sun’s yearly progress. The Incas at Machu Picchu in Peru were able to precisely indicate the date of the two equinoxes and other significant celestial periods.
The earth is tilted on its axis by 23 ½ degrees, and the Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light, indeed, its summer’s warmth. The Spring and Fall equinox signal when the tilt of the earth’s axis and orbit around the sun combine so that the axis is inclined neither away from, nor toward the sun.
Celebrate the autumnal equinox as the celestial signpost, as the Earth orbits around the sun.
Ways to celebrate the autumnal equinox called Mabon
Mabon is the ancient name for the autumn equinox when the harvest is almost over. The fields are nearly bare, because the crops have been stored for winter, or the vegetables and fruit preserved for winter use. It’s a spiritual time when we pause to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest in spiritual reflection and celebration for the gifts of the Earth. The cornucopia is one of the most famous symbols of the season with fruit and vegetables spilling out of it signifying abundance.
Gratitude for this bounty can be the centerpiece of your celebration in a restorative self blessing and thankful meditation. Write a “gratitude list” with the attitude that gratefulness brings more abundance our way. What are you glad about in your life? Gladness comes in all sizes from being thankful for a good vegetable crop or having a home to live in, and the health and happiness of your family and friends.
Love and gratitude amid fire and loss
In California and in particular Lake County where I live, celebrations here are bitter sweet because of the fires in the last two months that have ravaged the area. Stories of survival and gratitude for getting out alive with very few belongings are being told in the media and Facebook. Still, many here are suffering loss of homes and all their possessions, but at the same time are grateful for those who bravely fought the fire and saved many lives and homes—even amid the horrible losses. Gatherings of friends and family for a festival dinner here have a special significance this year. As many people in California suffered in the numerous fires, the evacuation centers have been blessed with an abundance of donations of food, sheltering tents, clothing, water, food for domestic pets and farm animals, and much more. Sharing the bounty of the fall season with the less fortunate here by so many relief agencies, volunteers, and private individuals is the one saving grace in a fire season that has ravaged the drought-torn state.
Rituals are a testament of hope for the future
Make a family alter to celebrate the Earth’s abundant gifts of food, plants and flowers. If you have children, allow them to draw pictures and write their own sentiments. Handmade items are particularly cherished with pictures and scribed blessings and share a special significance for families and individuals no matter their circumstance. Mother Nature loves to know she is appreciated and will bless your future.
Celebrating the Autumnal Equinox is personal and reflects an individual spiritual path as one identifies with the gifts of the Earth. A peaceful connection and participation in nurturing the soil and all life not only ensures longevity, but also establishes a reverence for place and responsible stewardship of the land and each other.
Assimilation by definition does not suggest ethnic or racial eradication, rather, an attempt to absorb or incorporate into the main culture; however, the history of assimilation in the United States and Australia reveal systemic, institutional extermination and degradation. Both English speaking countries are guilty of detrimental assimilation of indigenous peoples including removing native children from to families to state schools, disallowing native languages, stealing native land, and segregation.
In the US this dynamic has a punitive history. American policy was set by then President Thomas Jefferson who was more concerned with White expansionism than preservation of Native Americans. His devious theory consisted of encouraging natives to relinquish hunting for agricultural pursuits.
“The extensive forests necessary in the hunting life will then become useless,” he said in a confidential message to Congress in 1803. (Takaki 1993) President Andrew Jackson furthered these policies with the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
By the end of the 19th century three competing ideologies of assimilation had taken root in America: 1) Anglo-conformity; 2) Melting pot theory; 3) Cultural pluralism. All three have been evident in American society in varying degrees in the last 100 years.
Anglo-conformity is re-rooting in the Republican Party this year as candidates perpetuate the fear of “other” using stereotypes and “shock doctrine” to advance an immigration political agenda focusing on deportation of 11 million undocumented, exaggerating the efficacy of a border wall, separating families, and overturning the 14th Amendment that ensures citizenship for infants born in the U.S.. The demand by some Republicans that immigrants learn English in order to show true allegiance is not shared by all Republicans. During the Republican debates on Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) recalled his immigrant grandfather who did not speak English but imparted his love of America and its values to him in Spanish.
Anglo-conformity was used in name changing beginning with African slaves assuming the names of their owners and continued into the 20th century. New immigrants from Europe with ethnic sounding names changed them to appear more Anglo driven by the urge to become socially accepted and economically successful in America. Some of the most notable were entertainers with Jewish, Polish, German, Italian and others. Names were not the only areas where immigrants shed their culture. Ethnic food, dress, religion, customs, and values were discouraged in favor of Anglo conformity and assimilation to Protestant lines of religion and beliefs.
The “melting pot” concept imagined a country where all immigrant populations would live together and “melt” presumably by intermarriage into a new distinct American identity. Among the three, this concept has been the most controversial because it relies on the primacy of Anglo-conformity as the primary tenant for measuring the success of the American Experiment.
In a study done at New York University, economic researchers posit that before 1960 American immigration theory relied on assimilation technology to transform immigrants of various ethnicities and religions into a common American culture. Studies, however, revealed that immigrants interacting with American society met with cultural difficulties and even hostility negating the idea that immigrants would naturally assimilate in a melting pot process due to social and economic barriers. In 1995 a researcher measured the persistence of cultural traits studying the assimilation of immigrants’ ‘‘ethnic capital’’ in the United States, and found quite slow rates of cultural convergence.
Melting pot theories of assimilation have failed because they neglected to consider the well-defined preferences of parents to pass on cultural traits to their children through socialization allowing them to influence ethnic traits and characteristics including language and religion. An individual’s choice of marriage partner is the crucial factor in determining the transmission of cultural traits to the next generation. Minorities have more highly segregated marriage markets; therefore, the tendency for cultural transmission remains isolated within the group.
Cultural pluralism, on the other hand, assumes that all ethnic communities retain their cultural autonomy comprising a “mosaic” that is distinct and equal, but still part of a unified whole. This is known today as “multiculturalism” and is the dominant theory displacing archaic concepts of enforced assimilation that have not only destroyed entire populations, but also contributed to perpetuation of ethnic stereotypes, scapegoating, skepticism and cynicism.
During the August Republican debates, Louisiana governor and candidate seeking the Republican presidential nomination Bobby Jindal said, “Immigration without assimilation is an invasion.” Jindal has repeatedly harped on forced assimilation since he announced he was seeking the Republican nomination. During his speech he talked about not having hyphenated names. Americans and immigrants need to better assimilate with society.
The notions of Mr. Trump and Governor Jindal, indeed many in the Republican Party, do not reflect the modern trajectory of socialization modalities existing among ethnic minorities with a strong emphasis on multiculturalism rather than assimilation that insists a minority must give up their identity in favor of the host country.
Cultural pluralism or multiculturalism persists as an outgrowth of the demand by ethnic, religious and racial minorities to maintain their identity. The demand is a result of social forces, whether economic or social, responsible for culturally homogenous communities, family units and social environments to impart ethnic traits and culture from generation to generation.
Republicans who persist in demanding Latino assimilation are by its nature alienating one of the fastest growing minority groups in America. According to the Wall Street Journal Hispanics could account for 40 percent of the job growth by 2020. Over the next five years they will account for more than 75% from 2020 to 2034, according to a new study. That will account for approximately 11 million jobs out of the projected 14 million new positions across the economy.
In 1909 William James wrote “A Pluralistic Universe,” and proposed a “plural society,” for he saw it as “crucial to the formation of philosophical and social humanism to help build a better, more egalitarian society.” James argues in A Pluralistic Universe that the world is not a uni-verse but a multi-verse honoring human experience of “manyness,” flux and disconnection following a pattern of daily experience.
The Republican call for forced assimilation of Mexican-Americans (yes, I used a hyphenated identity) is anachronistic invoking Anglo-conformity rather than James’ “manyness,” acculturation and multiculturalism.
Republican ethnocentricity has positioned Democrats to be the party of inclusion and welcome to all minorities and definitely a friend to immigrants of all races and religions.
The evolution of advanced societies is fluid and incumbent upon democratic change or risk stagnation and discontent. Jolyon Howarth, British scholar of European politics, adds dimension by saying, “We become so accustomed to the prison that history had built for us that, like recidivists or long-term hospital patients, we become incapable of visualizing any other kind of existence. No other world it seemed could exist.”
“Origins and Destinies: Immigration, Race and Ethnicity in America,” Silvia Pedraza, Ruben G. Rumbaut. Wadsworth Publishing, 1996.
“Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America,” Ronald Takaki, Little, Brown & Company (Canada) Limited, 1993.
is retired and lives in Clearlake, California. She has three grown
children and one grandson and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services
Administration from St. Mary’s College in Moraga California. On the
home front Dava enjoys time with her family, reading, gardening, cooking