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From many, one America

September 06, 2008

Re "The 'identity' blind spot," Opinion, Sept. 1

Gregory Rodriguez's blind spot, if you will, is indicative of left-of-center thinking. To place ethno-nationalism at the center of our debates, our study and our understanding of the world is to ignore the values that set the United States apart from the rest of the world's nations.

American values ignored lead to moral, political and economic malaise. Our motto and basic American cultural ideal is "e pluribus unum." As our culture disassociates itself from the standard, our morals are debased by relativism, our economy starves out our poorest citizens and, politically, we incorporate the worst aspects of the "gimme" relationship between citizens and their government(s).

People from all over the world come here to be Americans. Don't deprive them and us of being American.

Stephen E. Olear

Orange

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I agree with Rodriguez's opinion piece regarding the importance of bringing "identity" into the mainstream -- for practical reasons. I think George W. Bush's most outstanding shortcoming was his lack of interest in things not American. His notion that no other nation had anything to offer led him to disregard the whole world's advice on many fronts.

Having worked and volunteered all my life with international students, I've been lucky to learn something about people and cultures that I'd never otherwise have encountered. I've learned why there are wars and why, with effort, there is hope for peace. More knowledge and a deeper understanding of different value systems is key to international relations, to solving community problems and, most of all, to effective communication of our own values to others.

Norah McMeeking

Santa Barbara

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