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America is a "melting pot", not a "mixing bowl"

This last election has shown the continuing trend in American politics to do away with the "melting pot" of America.

We saw ad after ad target specific groups of people in an attempt to convince them to vote as a whole and not give individual thought to a given issue. Two of the more blatant examples covered immigration and support for Israel.

I am reminded of two terms from chemistry that are often confused: "compound" and "mixture."

A compound is a substance that is made up of two or more chemical elements that are bonded together in such a fashion that a chemical process is needed to separate them. A mixture, on the other hand, is a physical mixing of two or more substances than can be isolated again by a simple mechanical means such as using a magnet to pull bits of iron from a recycling bin.

The American melting pot should produce a compound from all the people who live and come here. We should be bonded by the love of the ideals presented by our Declaration of Independence and embodied in our Bill of Rights. Instead, our politicians, our elected leaders, treat us as a simple mixture that can be broken apart at will when it comes election time by simple pandering.

We cannot expect to build a strong society going forward by using bricks made of mud and straw (a simple mixture) instead of chemically bonded concrete.

Note: this blog entry has also been published at a Letter to the Editor in the Las Vegas Sun: