America is not a country.
America is a concept.
A concept based on the founding fathers’ words in the Declaration of Independence, the document that announces America’s creation. Words that America did not live up to at that time, words that America has fought to live up to ever since, but words in which America was created:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
America is the largest and the world’s only real “melting pot,” A society whose success is defined by immigrants’ contributions from all over sharing thoughts and ideas to create one new culture. It is written in the United States’ very seal, E pluribus unum – “From many, one.”
Sadly, at the very time, America is becoming increasingly diverse; it is becoming more polarized. The concept on which it was founded, the concept that allowed it to become the world’s leading nation, is slowly being forgotten by many of its citizens. Just as the founding fathers spent four long months debating with each other, listening to each other’s points of view, and coming to compromises that benefited the collective in a real democracy, the citizens must listen to and understand one another. They cannot hope to sustain their democracy by merely pursuing their interests; They must be willing to make concessions in the hope of finding common ground for the good of America as a whole.
Online decision-making platform Cloverpop found a direct link between workplace diversity and decision-making. When diverse teams made a business decision, they outperformed individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time. When employees with different backgrounds and perspectives come together, they develop more solutions, which leads to more informed and improved decision-making processes and results. Whether some accept it or not, this is the hallmark of America. It is what makes America stand out. America is not a specific racial or ethnic identity or religious belief. America is differing groups with varying moral and religious outlooks, coming together to embrace America’s concept. It is in their diversity that America exists.
In the last four years, we have seen America led by a President who promoted division and hatred. Stroked fears and tacitly promoted the idea that for a particular segment, they were losing their America. Ironically it was the person he defeated to become President who truly understood what makes America great when she said:
What we have to do… is to find a way to celebrate our diversity and debate our differences without fracturing our communities.
Secretary Clinton understood that no one group could claim America, and therefore no one group can lose America. America is what it is because it is a beautiful mosaic, and while we may not always see eye to eye, that is fine. We may have differences, that too is fine. As Surak, the most influential philosopher in the history of the planet Vulcan, remarked:
I am pleased to see that we have differences. May we together become greater than the sum of both of us.