The nativism behind the push to repeal or amend the Fourteenth is ugly and obvious.
'The Purpose-Driven Life' is not just a mega-bestselling work of Christian faith; it is the thing that every voter, secular or not, yearns for.
I had heard so much negative talk about our generation, that we're slackers and young fogies, that I knew wasn't true of the people I know.
America is exceptional: but because it yields the likes of Obama, not the likes of Bush.
Today, public understanding of our past and our system of government is pitifully low.
If whiteness were of no particular advantage, then having a fuller color wheel of skin tones would be purely a matter of celebration. But whiteness - just a drop of it - does still carry privilege. You learn that very young in America.
Imagine filling a college with the first 1,000 students to get perfect SATs. Whatever the racial composition of that class would be, the notion seems absurd because we know that college in America is supposed to be about creating citizens and leaders in a diverse nation.
Many smart folks seem to think that if you just get your metaphors and messages right, you'll win. That if you start describing what you favor as a 'moral value' - 'affordable health care is a moral value' etc., - then you'll appeal to red-state voters.
My grandfather was a general in the Nationalist Chinese Air Force during World War II, and I grew up hearing the pilot stories and seeing pictures of him in uniform.
There have been, in recent years, many Asian American pioneers in the public eye who've defied the condescendingly complimentary 'model minority' stereotype: actors like Lucy Liu, artists like Maya Lin, moguls like Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. They are known, often admired.
You want to defend citizenship? Don't persecute or isolate those without papers. Just live like a citizen. That'd be a first-class way to be American.
To love country means to rise above I am because I am. It is to recognize that I am because we are.
Honest people know that the road to success and virtue always involves shared sacrifice, hard work, and gratification postponed. Telling people otherwise isn't leadership, it is pandering.
If half-black Barack Obama had decided years ago to call himself white - which his genes certainly entitled him to do - his story would have carried very different meaning. If millions of part-black people had followed him into whiteness, then the N.A.A.C.P. would be in true crisis.
In the end, a new Americanization movement can't just be about listing our privileges and immunities, which we catalog in our laws. It also has to be about reinforcing our duties, which we convey in our habits.
The Boomers have modeled a set of bad habits, and one grand gesture is not going to unwind all those bad habits.
In the end no segregationist scheme has withstood the force of a simple idea: equality under law.
What we should celebrate more than diversity is what we do with it. How do we bring everyone in the tent and create something together? In a twenty-first century way that activates our true potential, we all need to become sworn-again.
We all want merit to mean something, and we all may be tempted to reduce that meaning to something measurable and concrete like an SAT score. The reality, though, is that who deserves entry into an institution depends on what the institution exists to do.
Why does an iPhone cost only a couple hundred dollars? Because, as the stage performer Mike Daisey depicted in an arresting one-man show called 'The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,' Apple's shiniest products are made by a shadowy company in China called Foxconn.
Like the 'little emperors' of one-child China, too many Boomers were taught early that the world was made (or saved) for their comfort and enjoyment. They behaved accordingly, with a self-indulgence that was wholly rational, given their situation.
Sometimes when I listen to fellow progressives, I wonder if the only lesson we took away from the '04 elections is that politics is a word game.
When Bryan Price taught me how to throw a changeup, he made me see myself. All my life, I've been the equivalent of a fastball pitcher - trying to use blazing speed and brute force to wow the people around me.
After watching my first World Series in 1977, I wanted to be Reggie Jackson. I bought a big Reggie poster. I ate Reggie candy bars. I entered a phase during which I insisted on having the same style of glasses Reggie had: gold wire frames with the double bar across.
The boomers will eventually have to accept that it is not possible to stay young forever or to stop aging. But it is possible by committing to show up for each others in community after community, to earn a measure of immortality.
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