Friday, March 19, 2004

Mark Cook: With a free and diverse people keeping nationalism in check, American democracy puts others to shame

"France, you may remember, recently banned the wearing of Muslim headscarves and other religious attire — including large Christian crosses and Jewish skullcaps — in public schools. It was clear in the debate that crosses and skullcaps were just thrown in for reasons of 'egalite.' Muslim immigrants, and fear of Islamic fundamentalism, clearly were the target of the legislation. French nationalism was at its root."

"The nationalism inherent in this action by France and others in the past also diminishes the country in the face of the American democracy that the French helped birth."

"This country continues to undergo rapid demographic changes from immigration even as it is near the top of the terrorists' target list. That we can change so much and so fast without reacting like France speaks well of the power of our system."

The Tennessean

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