Editor, Daily Press:
Though the United States was built upon stolen land from the backs of enslaved peoples, I often look back and seek for goodness that has arisen from our short history. In 1776, the Swiss American Pierre Eugene du Simitiere suggested America place the words "E Pluribus Unum" on its Seal - "From many, one," which means that ideally, Americans can unite despite our many differences.
From its infancy, the United States was influenced by many nations. A confederated union of individual states was inspired by the Iroquois Confederacy. A large percentage of what we now call the United States was first colonized by the Spanish and French, who predated the English in America. Africans and African Americans have made endless contributions to our culture, and their influences can be seen in art, music, technology, science, food, literature, philosophy, and many other facets of American life. America has also been heavily influenced by Italy, China, Japan, India, Germany, the Middle East, and many other nations around the world. Our food culture and our understanding of place has been most influenced by the indigenous peoples of North, South, and Central America.
The greatest contribution "the many" bring to our American culture is their personhood, which includes their way of life and thinking. There is an epidemic within the Republican party to stigmatize those different than them. I have heard many of my conservative friends, when confronted with an idea contrary to their own, suggest, "If you don't like how things are, you can just leave this country." To think that those inside our individual tribes have a monopoly on all knowledge and cannot improve by learning from those unlike us is folly. I imagine America as a round table where all can sit as equals, but this is not possible unless we create a culture of respect and tolerance. To be American is to be many, and from many, we make one. E Pluribus Unum.
Brian D. King