It’s been about a month since the infamous diversity episode with Lt. Gov, and gubernatorial aspirant, Dan Forest. If you’ve already forgotten, and given the pace of news these days it’s no small feat to remember last month, let alone last week, Forest was speaking at a church in Salisbury.
“God doesn’t want us to divide our state,” Forest said. “He doesn’t want us to divide our nation. He wants us to bring people together and live in the world like the Acts 2 church did. And yet no other nation, my friends, has ever survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today, because of a lack of assimilation, because of this division, and because of this identity politics.”
Now, certainly the first half of this paragraph holds true. Deep divisions within communities, both local and at the state and national level, are not good for nation. Participation in community organizations has dwindled, as has church attendance. People just don’t interact in person as much as they used to. Social media has brought us closer while it drives us further apart.
But in truth, the meat of Forest’s statement is what merits scrutiny. Diversity and multiculturalism are the fabric of this nation, not a force pulling it apart. It’s telling that the blame for our nation’s apparent downfall is the fact that so many different types of people and cultures want to call America their home.
Irrespective of his statements in what was supposed to be a speech “focused on the need for unity and healing,” actions speak louder than words. Dan Forest will tack closely to the president in his efforts to win the Republican primary, and if successful there, against Governor Cooper next fall.
What does the president have to say about diversity? Send them back!
Last week, President Trump held a much-discussed rally in Greenville, North Carolina. There was no shortage of controversy.
The primary focus, of course, was the 15 second chant of SEND HER BACK, referring to Rep. Ilhan Omar from Minnesota. The president said he jumped back in quickly, in hopes to discourage the chant, but an honest viewing of the tapes show him practically basking in the chorus of voices.
It isn’t ephemeral, or a blip on the radar. It’s the new normal. Merchandise at the rally was emblazoned with troubling phrases:
“LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT”
“LET ME HELP YOU PACK!”
“BUILD THE WALL DEPORT THEM ALL!”
And some not worth parroting here.
Dan Forest has a decision to make. He can give speeches about unity and his desire to heal the nation, or he can align himself with the president who, more than anyone else, sows that division. He can’t have it both ways.
Kirk Kovach is a native North Carolinian interested in writing about politics, communication and culture.