E Pluribus Unum. Out of Many – One
March 23, 2023
When John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson proposed this motto for the Great Seal of the United States it summed up the determination of the fledgling nation perfectly. It also set the stage for the United States becoming the great “Melting Pot”. In this age of “Diversity” it seems as if the idea of a “Melting Pot” has become a dirty word, yet it seems to me that it is our only hope. I’m sure many will disagree with that sentiment, so let me explain.
When I was in college in the early 1980’s, the idea of the Melting Pot began to be replaced by the seemingly more “progressive” idea of a Mosaic of Diversity, which has its roots in the 1960’s. I remember debating this in various “Social Studies” classes. At the time, most of this debate was geared toward ethnicity and the argument was that a person shouldn’t have to lose their ethnic identity in the Melting Pot. Having been to some of the (especially) larger cities in the United States, this kind of made me giggle. All you have to do, even today, is explore New York, Chicago, San Francisco etc. and you will still see all of the “Little Italys”, “Little Irelands” and “Chinatowns” that still exist. When those people immigrated to the United States, they did not give up their ethnic heritage – they just added it to the “Melting Pot” while still retaining much of their traditions in their local communities. I liken it to a good pot of chili. You can still see the meat, beans, tomatoes, onions etc., but the sum of the parts is wildly greater than ANY of the parts. Where am I going with this?
Over the last few years, as I have served on the DARLOA Board of Directors, the dissension that exists at times on the Double Arrow Ranch has been a little disheartening. That same dissension extends to Seeley Lake itself. All of us that live here – old timers, newcomers, full timers, part timers et al, have chosen to live here, stay here, or move here for a reason. For most, it is the natural beauty of the area and the desire to live in a small town in the beautiful state of Montana. Some want to raise families in such an environment, some wanted to retire here away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Whatever the reason, for most people, living (or staying) in Seeley Lake is a choice and not something that is/was forced on them. It is a very diverse population in every way. We need to melt that diversity in to a pot. With the right amount of common sense, acceptance, and leadership, the pot should yield a vision of Seeley Lake that we can all mostly agree on.
I bring all of this up because in the eight years I have owned a home here, it seems like divisive growth issues are always being argued about. I say argued rather than discussed, because seldom is anything resolved in a constructive fashion. I came here from a big city seeking a slower, simpler existence (and nearby fly fishing, Lol). Based on that, I don’t particularly want Seeley to grow. I also know that it is selfish and unrealistic of me to feel that way. Things will change and growth will happen. It would be wise for all of us to help shape that growth as residents, rather than having it dictated to us by the all knowing “they.”
Of course the pot must have good ingredients to yield a good result. The next time (and there will be a next time) the sewer issue is pushed forward or an RV Park is proposed, we must insist that only truly fact based data is presented. So much of what I have seen in the past is twisted and misrepresented by all sides that it is impossible to take a truly knowledgeable stance. Of course, none of the preceding takes in to account the agenda of Missoula County officials (or the USFS)!
I grew up studying about “E Pluribus Unum” in school. I liked it then. I like it now. I like it for Seeley.