I heard a term a few years ago that I’ve often called myself – Whole Foods conservative. I’ve been thinking about that phrase a lot lately in the context of the current immigration discussion. Let me explain.
First, what’s a Whole Foods conservative? Well, it’s a culturally modern conservative. The growth of the Whole Foods retail chain is a great example of American cultural evolution, because it used to be that “health food stores” were only for 1970s hippies who were culturally out of the mainstream back in their heyday. There are other examples of that too, such as yoga practice, meditation and other cultural indicators that were once out in left field and are now mainstream.
Another way to look at Whole Foods in our modern culture is to look at our food tradition in general. It used to be that we had the Betty Crocker Cookbook and stereotypical American meat and potatoes food options. Now, in our new multi-cultural reality, we are fortunate to have a lot of diversity in the American diet. We need grocery stores, such as Whole Foods, to sell us what were once considered exotic food ingredients.
That food reality reflects the new diversity in our country because of immigration. The blending of cultures from around the world has always been what makes us Americans, and it’s even more the case now that we are living in our modern information age. Today, many of the barriers that previously kept many from seeking the American Dream are largely gone. Now, the greatest barrier to the American Dream is the lack of visas to allow people to immigrate legally.
I am saddened and truly bothered by the energy and the depth of the nativist populism that is driving Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Constitutional amendments to limit who is a citizen and plans to deport millions undermine what it is to be American. I do not support that redefinition of America – the place that was established to welcome everyone.
The Trump campaign is fueled by those who reject our new multi-cultural reality. They want to “bring America back.” That really means that they want to take America back in time culturally. People who are different, and different cultural perspectives make them uncomfortable. Their nativist rhetoric is offensive because they are talking about real people, and that’s not how we treat others.
We don’t treat others that way because that’s not who we are. Our country is here to enable everyone’s dreams, no matter who you are or where you come from. Let’s keep it that way.
Besides, it’s better! I like our modern diversity. I want more of it. Just think of all that we can learn from people who have different cultural experiences than we have. We might even discover a new kinds of food we like to eat, and we have Whole Foods to sell it to us!