"We have met the enemy, and he is US!"
When I was in high school learning social studies, 'assimilation' was a process we were expected to learn and understand. At that point it was describing the process where someone new to the society began to fit in by adopting the dress, language, and social norms of those around them; 'Those' - the people who had been in the society for an extended period and knew “the ropes”. It was a process of homogenization, that is mixing everyone together, and thereby making us all seem to be alike. There was a recognition that each added person changed the mix just a little, but because the process was somewhat slow it didn’t seem to matter all that much. Each person acted on each other and it was only those that were really different that made assimilation not so easy.
Today the changes are occurring so rapidly that the mix isn’t allowed to make adjustments without a lot of pain and harsh reactions by both the old and the new rubbing against each other. Very few people adapt to change easily because it takes work and requires attention. Of course there are those who say they just 'go with the flow'. That is easier if you have no strong or even informed and thoughtful beliefs.
It is also difficult to adapt when you are bombarded with all sorts of demands, many which seem to be conflicting. You have to have a guide or a way of determining what makes the most sense. Most people only have a culture of the past from which to make these assessments. If that past culture, learned from family and various institutions, differs markedly from the new environment, you’ll need to figure out how to integrate the new demands or opportunities. You’ll also have to consider what is best for you and your family and become aware of the goals, biases and objectives of those who are suggesting, asking for, or demanding you to change and follow their lead. Unfortunately there are multiple people and groups all pressing their perspectives and agendas, because they know what is the “right” way to go or behave. Very few seem to have a tolerance for allowing the other person’s position to be legitimate.
The process of assimilation used to be considered a gradual change. Today the process of assimilation is wrapped up in the slogan: My way or the highway! And we wonder why our political process is in such a mess. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so hard on our Congress and political leaders. They are just a reflection of ourselves; everybody pushing and nobody pulling or leading.