Skip to main content

America's Boiling Pot -- Writer's Poke #326



According to popular legend, if you try to place a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will immediately leap out. If, on the other hand, you place that same frog in a pot of lukewarm water and increase the temperature to the boiling point ever-so-slowly, it will remain in its bath until cooked.


For some reason, the lesson of the frog came into my mind when I was thinking about the American melting pot metaphor. Traditionally, the melting pot has been seen as a positive image, but over the past 30 years or so, more and more people have pondered just how positive having previous cultural identities melted down into one truly is.

Do we really want the same strip-mall culture from sea to shining sea? When I was in Denver over the weekend, I was able to make a Target run, and the Target was set-up exactly like my local Target. When we ate at Cracker Barrel, it had the same “local store” and the same menu as any Cracker Barrel anywhere. Granted, strip-malls and branding isn’t what people usually are referring to when they mention “melting pot,” but it bothers me that it is now possible to go virtually anywhere in the United States and, at least to a large extent, never feel as though you’ve left home.

A sense of home is vitally important. I get that. But when we allow ourselves the opportunity to expand our comfort zones, we give ourselves chances to learn and grow. In other words, we probably should be concerned that different ethnic “niches” and “enclaves” are developing in our country, but instead of always assuming that others should elect to be “more like us,” what would be run with flipping the question around? Why can’t we encourage all peoples to hold on to what is most valuable about their cultures and identities? Would that really be so “un-American”?

What should the future America look like?

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” – Abraham Lincoln

Comments

  1. I don't know if this is related or not, but I used to be a flight attendant and I had the great idea to collect a local item from every dstination I flew to. The item I initially chose was snow globes (I later changed this to postcards, I will tell you why in a second). Sadly, I noticed that on the bottom of all the snowglobes it said one thing: "Made In China". I figured there was one GIANT factory in China where some poor soul earned, like, 3 cents per day making snow globes of the Eiffel Tower, The Space Needle in Seattle, The Sydney Opera House, Big Ben ... you get the idea. It just made me sad.

    best.
    MOV
    ps-- I am sure the postcards were made in China too!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Summer Day Trip #1: Caledonia, Minnesota

The Wired Rooster Coffee Shoppe -- Caledonia, Minnesota


I've lived in Minnesota for over ten years, sure, but that doesn't mean I've actually seen much of the state. Like most people, I know what I know, and I go where I go. And that's the extent of it. But once I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to make it to Alaska this summer, it occurred to me that I had plenty of sites to explore in the immediate region.

First stop: Caledonia, Minnesota. Where's that? It's a small town in the southeast corner of the state. Before I opened my Rand McNally Road Atlas, I had never heard of it, and before I punched the town name into Trip Advisor, I didn't know if there was anything there worth visiting.

Distance from home: About 75 miles.

Challenge #1: Leaving by 6:30 a.m.

Challenge #2: Taking my dog, Atticus.

Actually, Atticus is a good dog on a road trip, but the forecast indicated that it was going to get into the 90s. I wanted to leave early in the …

Summer Day Trip #3: Jackson, Minnesota

Some time ago in the spring, I found out that David Ellefson, bass player and co-founder of Megadeth, was rebranding the coffee shop in Jackson, Minnesota. Every so often I would tell Linda that I planned to drive over there to check it out, but the morning that I actually decided to drive over there to check it out, I think I surprised her. I’m not sure she thought I would ever do it.
“What else are you going to do over there?”
“Oh, that’s it. Just drive over there, order a cup of coffee, and drive home.”
I had checked out Jackson on Tripadvisor, and honestly, Jackson seemed like it didn’t have much going on. My mind map of southwestern Minnesota was mainly a blank. I knew that I-90 drove through, but I thought perhaps the interstate was a metaphor: Beware ye who enter here, lest ye be on your way to somewhere else.
When I told Tavi we were driving two hours to visit a coffee shop, the idea didn’t seem far-fetched to her. She only had one question, “Do they serve hot cocoa?” I promised …