Last week in this space, readers were subjected to another series of inspirational stories about my father who, for all his wisdom and accomplishment, couldn’t dodge the fact that he looked a lot like me.
In the days since, it has become clear that if my sons — who look like one another but not so much like me — and their progeny are to live in a wise and accomplished world, they will have to start depending on people who don’t look like me.
This will be upsetting — not to my sons, who have a healthy dose of their generation’s open-minded approach to racial and gender matters — but to a lot of people who look like me and are horribly troubled by the fact that there are more and more folks in the world, and in the United States, who don’t.
But it should help to reassure Utahns who read the other day in The Tribune that our state’s population of the sort of folks we used to call “minorities” is growing fast. At a rate that will rapidly shift our overall demographics from overwhelmingly white to much more diverse and, in places such as West Valley City, a status as “majority minority.’
The distressing flood of bad news over the last weeks rises directly from the fact that the tectonic embarrassment who now sits in the Oval Office wouldn’t be anywhere near the place if he hadn’t turned the votes of a few thousand fearful people in a few states who bought — or already believed — his bilge about waves of dangerous and dependent undesirables marching across our unguarded borders.
The truth is that illegal border crossings are down, that immigrants — legal and not — are less likely to commit crimes or do any number of other bad things than the folks who are already established here. And a nation with a low birth rate and low unemployment is going to be stuck something horrible without inflows of immigrants.
Immigrants, first and second generation, legal and otherwise, do an awful lot of the work around here, from housekeeping and construction to software design and entrepreneurship.
And, despite the garbage that comes from the fascist wing of the Republican Party and its Il Doofus leader, the Darwinian fact is that a great many of the people who make it here without the imprimatur of the state are, indeed, the best of those nations.
Not the idle rich and robber baron class. The survival-of-the-fittest variety who, by simple dint of having gotten here, sometimes with small children in tow, have proven themselves to be the bravest, the boldest, the very kind of person who we have counted on to build this society for as long as there has been such a thing as the United States.
The people we need more of if we are to stick to our self-image as a nation of strong families, hard-working individuals, parents who devote their entire lives to giving their children opportunities they never had.
And to recruit the next generation of U.S. Marines. Hey, you walk across the deserts of two countries when your are 12, Camp Lejeune is gonna be a vacation.
Having waived their already tenuous right to govern an increasingly multi-ethnic nation, a lot of old white guys are just going to have to stand aside. (Hope that just letting more white women hold the reins of power would improve things hasn’t been fulfilled yet. Not with the Cruella DeVil wannabees who now sit in the Cabinet.)
Not that history is not necessarily so encouraging when it comes to polyglot nations running smoothly. Diverse societies can fall into rivalries and ruin.
Even the exceedingly advanced and ridiculously civilized nations of northern and western Europe are worried about whether they can handle inflows of refugees and still be the kind of cultures that people want to be part of.
I guess it just seems to sting more to pay taxes for universal health care, parental leave and education when not all the recipients look just like your daughter-in-law.
Hope may come from the trend in many places away from two-tiered societies — black/white, Protestant/Catholic, Christian/Muslim — and toward crazy quilts of folks from all over who won’t be able to get bupkis done unless they learn how to compromise, cooperate and just get along.
The fact that we are not going to have any choice but to figure that out is, I have chosen to believe, good news.
George Pyle, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial page editor, tried to look ethnic by growing a beard and eating in Indian restaurants. Don’t tell him it didn’t work. email@example.com Twitter, @debatestate