April 11th, 2009
08:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #82: Ten things – Sent to the 'Principled' Office

Reporter's Note: Our President, Barack Obama, says he would like to hear ideas from Americans on how to improve the country. I’m having trouble deciding on what tie to wear today, but nevertheless, I am doing my part with a letter a day to the White House; currently through this series on Ten Things You Ought to Know About America, But You Might Not Know From Watching the News.

This is Part Five.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

When someone says he agrees with you in principle, it means he has no intention of going along with you practice. I don’t know who first said that, but whomever it was drilled that one like a Titleist down the fairway.

I think for some time we’ve been watching a divergence in this country between the “official world” and the “real world;” between the principles and the practices of our society. And it’s becoming a problem.

Take diversity for example.

Plenty of offices out there are completely on board this train; promoting slogans and pushing employee handbooks filled with propaganda all about how they respect, desire, will sell their souls if only they can have some diversity! I call it propaganda because I think just like those splashy Russian posters from the Cold War days the goal is to create a false sense of the state of things.

Now, diversity can, of course, be wonderfully positive and powerful. The mixing of ideas and influences from Irish, Italian, African, English, German, Chinese, Cuban, and other immigrants made America the enormously successful and vibrant place it is.

(Mind you, all that diversity didn’t work out so well for the Native Americans. Seems their way of life was a little too diverse for the new neighbors) Taking concepts about science, art, education, food, and business from a variety of cultures allows us to not only skim off the best ideas, but also create new and wondrous amalgamations.