Let’s Talk Clinton: Ronald Takaki

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I’m worried about the political scene in California, with anti-immigrant sentiment led by the state’s governor, Pete Wilson. He is trying to divide Californians on the basis of race, and it’s a wise strategy. Whites will be a minority in the 21st century. What will the bitter fruit be?

Clinton must win California to be re-elected. He has to address the R word–race–but has been dodging it all along. After L.A. exploded, he skirted the issue except for a single visit. He could have said L.A. is a mirror of our future, and I have to confront it.

He should read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address again. Lincoln pondered what he wanted to say during our greatest national crisis–a war over race. We could have been another Bosnia. Lincoln had to ask why we were involved in such a bloody war, and it was in precise language because of equality as a proposition that we are founded on and dedicated to. There’s nothing in Japanese or South African culture to parallel the commitment to this proposition.

The struggle to achieve this proposition is “unfinished work” that still exists. I’d like to see our president recommit us to the proposition.


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