By A. Duttaahmed, Ph.D.
In the recent issues of the Sentinel, we read one long letter and two responses to the first letter, about our country. Couple of questions, and concerns:
• We are proud of our American democratic heritage of our political system, but some are very intolerant, and resentful, with many of our collective, majority decisions, including election of representatives or governments.
Unanimous decision by all the people is a utopia, which, I doubt, will ever be achieved. It is for this very reason we need an involved and informed citizenry. Did we not decide to choose our systems to be like that — collective, majority decision by the people? Or, do we like to have a civil war such as those between Shias and Sunnis, Protestants and Catholics, or upper and lower castes?
• Yes, we have our individual opinions, and likes and dislikes. Even our own values are different from our siblings, from our parents, and from our children. Are they not? We live our lives by finding common grounds, sometimes, if not often, compromises.
• If we are in a democracy — we claim it is the best in the world — then we should always try for an all-inclusive voting base, and make it easy to vote. Why then so many of us, in many states, try to restrict voting people and voting by people in various ways?
•One writer expressed his dislike about hyphenated identity of Americans, which I dislike, too, in favor of one single word identification: American. But, why so much clamoring about state identification and state rights? If we cannot have a single set of laws for all Americans, why are we one nation? The origin of state in our system is political and historical, sometimes feudalistic, nearly 300 years old. Most of the original and historical reasons do not exist now.
Furthermore, we have added many more states to the original 13. The states do not represent any monolithic culture. Now, it is almost the same culture in all states. State boundaries are mostly straight lines with some adjustments for natural geographical features. Keeping the original boundaries, are the states not primarily an administrative unit? True, associated with it some local power structure has evolved. Gerrymandering of voting districts are mostly manifestations of political power play.
•We are a land of immigrants, other than Native Americans. We came here with our ethnic cultural backgrounds, which are merging, slowly but surely, into a single one. Slow, evolutionary process is the best process, comes naturally, from heart and necessities, whereas fast, which often means imposed — generally by socio-economic power groups — that comes with resentment. So, what is the rush?
Finally, one of my favorite metaphors: Difference between evaporation and boiling. Both processes convert liquid molecules into gas molecules. Molecules in liquid phase are in random motion and have different energies. In their random motion, some liquid molecules would reach the liquid-gas surface line; if one has enough momentum, it will pierce through the surface and enter into the gas phase. So, the process is slow — one molecule at a time provided it has enough energy.
In the boiling process, energy is externally supplied so that all molecules are energized; many molecules reach the surface and have enough energy to escape into the gas phase. So, the process is fast — many molecules have been energized to escape because of the external stimulus of energy. Increased and almost universal opportunity.
Only about 5 percent of us have the opportunity to move into a better state of life and living — almost an anecdote for achieving the American dream. We as a nation should collectively strive and work to create opportunity for the most to truly form a ONE NATION.
A. Duttaahmed Ph.D. is a Ramona resident.