Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Nation of Hyphens

Today's specialty: Immigration. Actually, it is broader than immigration - immigration is simply the act of "migrating" from one's country of origin to another. The broader issue is assimilation and cultural unity.

Today, America is a nation of politically correct hyphens, which in my book is simply a recipe for cultural schizophrenia. Keep in mind that this is based on the premise that America is a "melting pot" - yes, remember that term from 9th grade social studies? It infers that multiple streams or rivers of cultures come together in one point (the symbol here is often early 20th century Ellis Island) and MELT, or blend, into a new culture (that is singular, not plural - just wanted to be clear). Think of it as a process of melting multiple ores together to derive a new, refined metal - stronger, harder, better than the original.

The premise is that we all sacrifice our differences to embrace the new culture. If I immigrate to America, my forward view is that I'm American. I embrace all things American - taxes, English, work, accountability and financial prosperity. Whatever I was before I claimed United States nationality becomes a thing of the past, or said differently - my heritage. Does that mean I throw away my heritage, my culture, my language, etc.? Of course not - it just becomes secondary, and bows to the will and needs of my new nationality. But, my future is 100% American - no hyphens to qualify it.

Here's a quote I found today, from a letter written by Teddy Roosevelt in 1919, shortly before his death. I have to admit, it does sound a little harsh when considered w/in the charged atmosphere of political correctness - I'd encourage you to drop that baggage and consider it w/in the context of being an American, above all else.

Taken from:

NEW YORK, Jan. 6. — What was the last public statement by Col. Roosevelt was read last night at an "All-American concert" here under the auspices of the American Defense society, of which he was honorary president.

"I cannot be with you and so all I can do is to wish you Godspeed," it read. "There may be no sagging back in the fight for Americanism merely because the war is over.

"There are plenty of persons who have already made the assertion that they believe the American people have a short memory and that they intend to revive all the foreign associations which more directly interfere with the complete Americanization of our people. Our principle in this matter should be absolutely simple.

"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here does in good faith become an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with every one else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birthplace or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American.

"If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn't doing his part as an American.

"We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. We have room for but one language here and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, and American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house; and we have room for but one soul [sic] loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people."

Our nation (media, government, society, culture) is fixated on the "pluribus" in e pluribus unum. What happened to "unum"? Or, take our pledge of allegiance - forget whether or not you agree w/ the statement "under God" because that is a dish for another day - what are the key words? One nation, under God, indivisibile, with liberty and justice for all. We're supposed to be one nation folks - indivisibile means that nothing can divide us (not theology, not politics, not race, not heritage, etc.). Left unchecked, what we have on our hands is a recipe for the destruction of America as we know it, and we'll only have ourselves to blame (and our petty self-interests).


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