Whether you voted Blue or Red, it is We The People of the United States who elected our next president. I want to offer a simple binary perspective to give us all hope that working together is possible. Unity may be within our grasp. When coming to terms with the staggering diversity in our country, there are two terms to help frame this great experiment. One is Multiculturalism, the other Omniculturalism.
Multiculturalism is understanding that not all people are the same, and believing that we must respect our differences. This seldom works, and is an artifact of failed policies such as “Separate but Equal” and behaviors and beliefs that led to the Great White Flight. Multiculturalism is an indication of the growing pains of the world that Thomas Friedman describes in The World is Flat and his follow-up book, Hot Flat and Crowded.
Omniculturalism is the understanding that we are all one people, with subtle differences that set us apart. Be it genetic mutations or language barriers, melanin count or country of origin, the human race is diverse, and the United States was born in the understandable process to comes to terms with the vast spectrum of our collective variety. The key to shifting the paradigm from a Multicultural to an Omnicultural perspective is inviting individual ownership of these differences.
By stating that it is We the Basket of Deplorables that elected our next president, I take full ownership of the red shift in our shared spectrum. The only way forward to any of us is to individually come to terms with all of us. If you are white, spend more time with the black. If you are black, I’m terribly sorry for the pain you have endured so far and pray that this pain will subside as we continue to pull together and pursue a more perfect union.
If you are in the millions of shades of gray in between, you are us, and We are the People. That is to say, We Americans have one thing in common, above all others. It is up to us to keep that in mind, and to get used to using the collective plural pronoun. Gone are the days of us and them serving humanity in any useful way. That is Multiculturalism and it is a failed experiment. The WE of Omniculturalism will serve to keep us all in check, and to treat our neighbors as ourselves.
Go hug an other. Embrace the old “them” to find the new “we”. When we, whoever “we” are, come to terms with defining this new identity, we will shift into the worldview that can unite our divisions through empathetic dialog. Not Multicultural sympathy, but Omnicultural empathy. The view that “I understand your situation because I’ve done my best to stand in your shoes”. Until we do that, we are all The Basket of Deplorables. One day the United States will finally become We The People.