Americans have become accustomed to our presidents standing tall in times of peril. So when warnings of the looming threat posed by multiculturalism to national identity and security are made, it is natural to believe they come from the American president. But not this time.
Over the past month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister David Cameron have spoken out on the challenges posed by multiculturalism in their countries. Cameron recently proclaimed “under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.”
When I heard Cameron’s words I thought of my grandfather. He came to America from Fascist Italy, where he left a stable government job to work in the coalmines of western Pennsylvania until he was 72 years old. My grandfather put literal sweat equity into those mines—not because it brought him wealth, but because it brought him the opportunity to be an American.
My grandfather, like most immigrants, believed that America was more than just another plot of land. To his generation America was a common aspiration, an idea. Part of that idea was that all men are created equal. That founding idea, as Abraham Lincoln said, was enshrined into our Declaration of Independence not only because it was a self-evident truth but also so that it could constantly serve as “a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression,” whenever and wherever they appeared.
As a result of multicultural relativism, however, we are seeing the American aspiration eroded, our common purpose lost, and a “re-appearing tyranny and oppression” that is not only poised against us abroad but is also pointing its dagger at us here at home. This is especially true in some of the Islamist communities, where separation from the rest of America is sacrosanct and intellectual assimilation degraded—and where the equality of every human being is not taught as a self-evident truth. Our American sense of toleration, in other words, is now protecting noxious philosophies that are anti-American.
Former Senator Rick Santorum is the author of Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works.
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