What Does the Melting Pot Purify Out?
Mark Patinkin’s column today is of his one-liner variety, and few are the folks likely to agree or disagree with everything that he writes. This item, however, strikes me as to profound to be left without exploration:
From the “It’s a great country” archives: I just saw an ad for a dreidel with a picture of Santa on it.
Is that an indication of a great country? I suppose it depends on the direction from which one views it. If we take the anecdote as proof that those of different faiths can share traditions, then I suppose it’s a positive development in history. But I wonder whether we lose something in the melting of such things.
Those to my political left might point out that the dominant culture (Christians) are absorbing the minority culture (Jews) and, in that way, destroying it. Me, I’m more apt to worry about what is lost by each religious tradition, individually, when the markers of their faith become but so many secular trappings for commerce-driven holidays.
Perhaps the melting-pot process does remove impurities of ethnic strife, but there is much else that we can lose in the fumes. Foremost among the dissipated treasures are the beliefs that once gave the symbols a significance that neither government nor superstore can reconstitute.