The present dissension in our ever so diverse society should not allow individual affiliations of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, and or sexual orientation, etc., transcend our fidelity to citizenship and equality under the rule of law. Individuals will always possess unique group identities that separate them one from another. But as stated in The Melting Pot, written by playwright Israel Zangwill and first performed to rave reviews by President Theodore Roosevelt in Washington, D.C. in 1908, individuals can amalgamate into a melting pot of citizens who maintain and express their pluralistic selves. Yet, each citizen would respect the culture of all under one government.
Our modern democracy should provide that all cultures are neither preempted by government nor society so long as respectful of democracy. The continuum of political affiliations from left to right should also freely express their opinions in this manner. Civil discussion and debate are the requirements of a democratic society.
Neither we nor our leaders should allow our pluralistic identities determine our decisions and opinions. Rather, in a democratic society we participate in our political community and do so in a way that places the principles governing our republic above all else. The doctrines incumbent within our group identities must defer to these founding principles.
Citizen participation should be facilitated by reasonable means. Many do not participate for want of knowledge. They do not know how a vote may be cast. Similarly, private and public leadership should consider public opinion regarding life’s issues and concerns. Civil and respectful public expression should be encouraged and not ignored. Most importantly, it must be included in private and governmental decision making.
Within the melting pot of the twenty-first century, we seek a social contract of a just society under our democratic government by imagining that we, ourselves, do not know our respective future condition, our position in society, or our own self-interest. We then seek laws and governing institutions that safeguard the position of the least well-off in society as that becomes our point of self-interest. For, social unrest occurs when our social contract is disregarded, and there appears to be no other means of effective popular expression.
The melting pot requires that public and private leaders guide citizens in their ability to place citizenship above personal identities. Policies and decisions should reflect the myriad of identities in society.