Diversity=Disunity. Rediscovering the American Dream is our only hope. ⋆
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Diversity=Disunity. Rediscovering the American Dream is our only hope.

Photo credit: Luke Stackpoole

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We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. ~Jimmy Carter

Let’s talk about the dream that once made our nation strong. This vision has nothing to do with differing anything. Where once our differences were incidental; they’re now monumental. What can we do to overcome our obstacles and achieve real unity? Rediscover our shared American Dream.

The American Dream once beckoned hopeful immigrants to come for the chance to build new lives through opportunity and freedom. If they could only get to our shores, they reasoned, they could work hard to become citizens in a nation that, far from perfect, afforded them the best chance to build new and better lives.

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What happened to the American Dream? It’s been lost to the limiting, shaming and militant god of cultural diversity. If my grandfather had arrived in 2021 instead of 1909, he would find a once promising and relatively united country torn and tugged by division and a glorification of all things different.

Building barriers, not bridges

Instead of discovering a diverse nation of fellow immigrants and new citizens united by a shared dream, he’d be encouraged to cling to his cultural heritage and to resist embracing American culture—the very culture his family had scrimped and saved and sacrificed everything to join.

My grandfather would be confronted by his supposed “white privilege” even though he was more olive than white. America’s diversity dealers would demand he accept his white guilt and embrace his tribe. They don’t build bridges; they build barriers by glorifying differences.

Our once shared American Dream has been trampled and trumped by a small, but vocal minority who decry its legitimacy. A dream that galvanized generations of immigrants has been replaced by a glorification of cultural diversity.

There’s nothing wrong with cultural diversity per se—but there’s everything wrong with it when it divides rather than unites us. Diversity, with the right perspective and emphasis, makes us uniquely American.

Diversity as America

What began as a rekindling of interest in our rich ethnic and cultural origins has become an elevation of all things diverse. And by making diversity an obsession, proponents have denigrated the idea of conforming to a shared national identity.

Here’s a fun factoid:

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “diversity” only acquired its present-day ethnic focus as recently as 1992. Since then, diversity means so much more than … well, what it actually means.

Contrary to our leaders in education, politics and the spirit of the age, diversity does not make for a Utopian paradise of differing and self-contained, yet somehow cohesive mini-cultures. Neither does it weave a strong national tapestry or create a beautiful mosaic. What did diversity mean before its meaning was co-opted?

Diversity is rooted in the Latin word, diversitatem (nominative diversitas), which means contrariety, contradiction, or disagreement. Disagreement naturally occurs when people of differing cultures, ethnicities, religions and worldviews focus on their differences. Diversity is a cousin to discord, which is inevitable—just as my words will create discord. Worthwhile diversity is about commitment, not division.

Commitment is constitutional

In America, what unites people with differences is a commitment to a common dream: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is a central tenet of our Constitution, which, by the way, immigrants swear by before they become citizens.

The oath, in part, is this: I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America … that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.

Renounce allegiance … bear true faith? These words confirm a commitment to a uniquely American way of thinking, an embrace of uniquely American values and dreams. The words of the oath are a commitment to … dun dun DUN … assimilation.

Assimilation good, tribalism bad

Sadly, assimilation has been made a dirty word just as “melting pot” has been made a dirty phrase. Here’s the truth—an immigrant cannot truly commit to becoming an American nor fulfill his or her oath without assimilating.

The idea that successful immigration can occur without assimilation is a relatively new construct—and it’s naturally illogical. A foolish, mouthy minority has convinced a generation of young minds that a culture with differing beliefs, yearnings, hopes and dreams makes for a stronger society and nation. This is nonsense.

Here’s more truth: A culture with different people with differing beliefs and points of origin can be strong—but only if its people are united by a common dream. 

Consider the world-changing actions of our “Greatest Generation.” Ask an elderly American what made his or her country great. They certainly don’t cringe at the mention of a melting pot. If they’re honest—and most are—they’ll tell you Jimmy Carter is full of it.

Issue of the heart

This quote by a much more effective president make much more sense: “Citizens by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections.” ~George Washington

This seems like “nationalism” because it is. Is nationalism also a dirty word? It is now. Somehow, to be a nationalistic nation is to be a racist one—even though our country have been its strongest, wisest and best when we’ve been the most nationalistic. Is it wrong to be a nationalistic superpower? Not when a nation balances its greatness with goodness.

The greatest nations in history were powerful, altruistic and influential in their time. And they were nationalistic … without being Nazi. Take this test: Think about the word nationalism. Does Nazi or Alt Right come to mind? If so, have you been influenced by an ideology?

Conversely, if nationalism makes you think about our nation coming together after Pearl Harbor or 9-11, maybe your mind is still free and historically sensitive and unencumbered by propaganda.

Logic over lunacy

Let’s look at this logically. Allow me to ask some penetrating questions regarding this diversity-as-virtue motif:

When athletes on a sports team hold differing beliefs about how to reach their goal of winning a championship, will they be as likely to become champions? If soldiers in an army have different ideas about how to win a battle and aren’t willing to follow the battle plan, will the army be as effective a fighting force?

When employees of a company don’t conform to a singular business model to achieve profitability, will the company stand the best chance to succeed? If we hold differing beliefs, yearnings, hopes and dreams, can we be strong as a nation?

Never too late

Yes, we can, but only if we lose the hyphen and see ourselves as Americans first and foremost. We desperately need to re-examine this infatuation with elevating and glorifying cultural differences. If you want to appreciate other cultures, please do so, but don’t do it at the expense of a shared American culture.

The opportunity to pursue happiness and the American Dream can be as inviting, accepting and amazing for us and our children and grandchildren as it was for our great-grandparents and their parents.

We’re different, but let’s be different together—as Americans. Let’s resist the diversity despots who create barriers between us by glorifying our differences. By coming together, we can recapture what Americans do best—excel by pursuing a shared dream of freedom, opportunity and goodness through a shared commitment.

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Patrick grew up in Texas and graduated from the University of North Texas with a master’s degree in journalism and advertising. His undergraduate degree is in English and photography. He served six years in the U.S. Navy where his life was changed forever by the Lord Jesus Christ. He lives in the Sierra Nevada of Northern California with his wife, dog and two cats. He enjoys hiking and cycling, taking pictures, writing and blogging at https://luscri.com/



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Business

Avoiding Burnout

Burnout is regarded as a distinct type of stress related to demands on the job, and you can keep it at bay

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In this ever-changing, covid-plagued era, many people today are experiencing unprecedented pressures and stressors. As the stress builds up over time, these individuals suffer from burnout and feeling as if there is no time for their lives.

Burnout is a term that has made the rounds in business and general literature over the last decade and a half. It’s actually a unique type of stress that involves:

* diminished personal accomplishment,
* emotional exhaustion, and
* de-personalization.

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Although researchers are still exploring the nature of burnout, it is widely regarded as a distinct type of stress related to demands on the job.

At Risk

Who is most susceptible to burnout? Those in helping professions, or in positions that have significant amounts of interpersonal contact. This includes people in customer service departments, municipal services, and health care.

While burnout is costly to organizations, unfortunately, those organizations in which employees feel the effects of burnout, often do little to be of service. How do you know if you’re heading for burnout, or are already there?

Have you been evaluating yourself negatively lately? Does it seem to you as if you’re not making any progress or have even lost ground? If you feel as if you are not as competent and successful doing your job as you have been in the past, you’re experiencing the sensation of diminished personal accomplishment.

Depersonalization

Another clue to burnout is depersonalization. This occurs when you rotely do what you’re supposed to, but withdraw emotionally from what you’re doing. In the health care industry, this could be characterized by a nurse who follows correct medical procedures, and is cordial with patients, but no longer cares about them on a personal basis.

In business, depersonalization can be seen as detachment, a blase attitude towards peers, clients, or customers, and perhaps to one’s organization in general. If you begin to see others as objects rather than human beings, beware, you could well be on the burnout path.

The third component of burnout is emotional exhaustion. Here, it feels as if you don’t have the capacity to respond emotionally to others. Your energy level is low. You are irritated or tense. You know that you can’t give of yourself like you have in the past. Following a long weekend, or time away from work, you still loathe the thought of going back to work.

Emotional exhaustion often is the first of the three characteristics to appear when you’re in danger of experiencing burnout. Long hours and heavy demands can drain your emotional resources. People who may have been optimistic about what they could achieve on the job, and had high expectations for themselves, are particularly susceptible to burnout as they begin to experience set-backs and frustrations.

Antidotes

Among the emerging antidotes are 1) the ability to know, observe, and be involved in the outcome of your efforts, and 2) the opportunity to engage in a self-evaluation.

The first remedy allows you to maintain a mental link between what you do and what results occur. Said another way, it’s highly stressful to work at a job all day long, perhaps interacting with many, many people, and not know if what you’ve done has been of value, or been appreciated.

The second remedy, self-evaluation, involves looking at what you do with some measure of objectivity, perhaps using a chart, checklist, or scale developed during less trying times, that includes most of the key components of your job description and responsibilities.

One of the best safeguards for not falling prey to burnout is to accept the input and advice from others. Your spouse, co-workers, and friends often are able to notice changes in your behavior that may be detrimental to your well-being, long before you are aware of them. Please, listen up when somebody says “take it easy.”

If you’ve ever saw Star Trek: the Next Generation, you know that when Counselor Troi told Captain Picard to take it easy, at first, he always resisted. Then, he relented, and followed her advice. Captain Picard, I postulate, never missed a day on the bridge due to burnout.

Tune Up the Old Bod

Particularly if you’ve been putting in long hours and facing high-expectations, schedule a regular preventative medical exam, complete with cardiovascular and cancer screening tests. Many people who appear to be in good shape find out the hard way, either through a heart attack or sudden death, that all was not well internally. You and I don’t have the capability to determine how well everything is going on inside, solely based on the way we feel and perform.

Some top athletes in our time, among them Pete Maravich, Hank Gathers, and Sergei Grinkov were in top physical condition, but perished at an early age because of long-standing coronary problems that went undetected. In some cases, well-conditioned athletes who act with unknown coronary problems, actually live years past the time when a non-athlete in the same condition would have lived.

By the time you reach your forties, and certainly mid-forties and fifties, heart disease becomes the leading cause of death. Heart disease is brought on by a variety of factors such as a sedentary lifestyle, smoking too much, experiencing too much stress, getting too little rest and so on. Curiously, as more women rise to higher and higher ranks within organizations, the risk of heart disease rises as well.

Surrounded By Workaholics?

Despite the well-known, high prevalence of stress and burnout in the contemporary working world, and the resulting dangers, some organizations still maintain a culture in which employees have it tougher than it needs to be. Too many managers have the misguided notion that only wimps are stressed. These are the same managers who tend to give out stress in abundance. If only they knew that stress is real, and exacts a cost on both individuals and the organization.

Someday, organizations will be held responsible, both socially and legally, for the mental health and well-being of their employees. Until that day, you’ll probably need to accept it as a given that if you want to flourish in an otherwise potentially stressful environment, there are not many places you can look for help. You’re going to have to help yourself.

Suppose you work with a boss who unduly heaps piles of stuff on your desk with little or short notice? What are some of the strategies you can employ to keep your job, maintain your relation with your boss, and yet not be overwhelmed?

When Your Boss Wants You to Be a Workaholic

With great tact and professionalism offer these words, “I’m really over-committed right now, and if I take that on, I can’t do it justice.” Other appropriate responses:

* “I appreciate your confidence in me. I wouldn’t want to take this on knowing my other tasks and responsibilities right now would prohibit me from doing a great job.”

* “I’d be happy to handle this assignment for you but realistically I can’t do it without foregoing some other things I’m working on. Of tasks a and b which would you like me to do? Which can I put aside?”

* “I can do that for you. Will it be okay if I get back to you in the middle of next week? I currently have blank, blank, and blank in the queue.”

* “The number of tasks and complexity of assignments I’m handling is mounting. Perhaps we could look at a two or four week scenario of what’s most important to you, and when the assignments need to be completed, versus what I can realistically handle over that time period.”

Flexibility Matters

All the while, stay as flexible as possible. Frequently, your responsibilities and assignments will change. Your ability to adapt to your boss’s needs will go a long way in helping you flourish at your position,  and diminish the feelings of being overwhelmed.

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Life

130 Things for Which to Be Grateful

Whether it’s a person, object, form of entertainment, place, or concept, everyone can be grateful for many things

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I asked around and learned some of the things for which people express gratitude. Whether it’s a person, object, form of entertainment, place, or concept, everyone can be grateful for many things.

While some items on the list might not apply to you, most are items for which we can all be grateful at one time or another in our lives:

People & Relationships

Family
Friends
Good teachers
Role models
My boyfriend
My girlfriend

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My parents
My children
Babies
Siblings and cousins
Coaches
Mentors

Family reunions
Engagements and weddings
Pets
Nice wait staff
A kind landlord
High school reunion

Health

Generally good health
The ability to walk
Breathing
My genes
Good hearing and eyesight
A Sound Mind

Safety and Security

Police and Fire Departments
U.S. Military
National Weather Service
Freedom of the press
Freedom of religion
Domestic Privacy

Modern Luxuries

Clean water
Mouth wash
Cars
Public transportation
Air conditioning
Clothes that fit

Washers and dryers
Work at home jobs
Being employed
Book publishers
Financial aid
The ability to own property

Technology

GPS
DVR
Pandora
Computers
Smartphones
The Internet

iTunes
Powerpoint
Photographs

Entertainment

Movies
Broadway shows
ESPN and ESPN2
TV news
Learning Channel
History Channel

Fashion
“Retail therapy”
Xbox, Gameboy
Books
Concerts
Art

Sports

Running
Skiing
Rowing
College basketball
Tennis
Skating rinks

NHL
MLB
NBA
WNBA
Olympics
NFL

Foods

Good food
Mexican food
Sushi
Pizza Fruit
Ice cream
Crunchy peanut butter

Cream cheese
Beer
Tea
Chocolate
Asparagus
Miso soup

Places

The USA
National and state parks
Social scenes
Bars
Whole Foods, Earth Fair, and Trader Joe’s
Costco and Sam’s Club

Coffee shops
Public schools and universities
Swimming pools
The beach and mountains
Shopping malls
Cruise ships

Arboretums
Vancouver
Niagra Falls
NYC

Nature

Pretty weather
The arrival of spring
The arrival of fall
Thanksgiving
Freshly cut flowers
First snow

Concepts

Learning
Formal education
Lessons learned
Experiences
Respect
Ability to change

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