Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Freedom to Be American

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the need in the United States for the freedom to be simply an American. This writer has always wondered why there are such names and/or identifications as African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, or Japanese-Americans – particularly when they are second, third, fourth, or more generation Americans. Why can’t we all be simply and clearly Americans? Obviously, there are some people in America who accept everyone as simply American, but there are others who want to divide Americans in order to conquer the people and destroy America.

            Dennis Prager gives an example of the first type of people as he explains that he moved from New York City to Simi Valley, California, for work in 1976. When he joined the local Rotary chapter and realized that he was the only Jewish member there, he was amazed at the reactions of the other members.

To the best of my memory, I was the only Jew in that Rotary chapter. What struck me was that my being a Jew meant essentially nothing to the other members. No one cared. Not even a little.

If you are an American, my reaction makes little sense. You are wondering why it struck me that my being a Jew meant nothing to the entire membership.

The reason was I knew Jewish history. Prior to moving to California, I taught Jewish history at Brooklyn College. Nowhere in the Jews’ 3,000 years as a people living in non-Jewish societies did being a Jew ever mean nothing to the non-Jews among whom they lived. Even in 1976.

The Jews of France were known as Jews, as were the Jews of England, Brazil, and everywhere else. If I were in a Rotary Club in a small French city, especially if I were the only Jew in the club, the other members would know me as “Denis le Juif,” Dennis the Jew. That did not mean the other members were anti-Semites, only that in Europe, as everywhere else, if you weren’t a member of the majority group, you were known as a person with that other identity….

To this day, a German whose grandparents immigrated to Germany from Turkey is likely to be regarded as a Turk, even if he speaks no Turkish and speaks German exactly as other Germans do. And this monumental difference goes in both directions. This third-generation Turk in Germany is not likely to regard himself as a German.

But a Turk who immigrates to America is regarded as American the moment he becomes an American citizen (if not sooner) --- even if he has a Turkish name and speaks halting, accented English. If he wants to identify as American, he’s an American….

Only in America have people of every background come to be regarded as fully members of the majority group….

            Prager continues his article by stating that “America evolved into the least racist and least xenophobic society in human history – the society that most successfully assimilates others as full members.” This is so even though “Americans did not always live up to American ideals – their attitudes toward black Americans being the most obvious example.”

            Prager says that “there are two threats to this exceptional American achievement.” He says that the first “threat comes from the left, which does not want minorities or immigrants to assimilate but to retain their minority or immigrant identity as their primary identity.” These people do not accept even the suggestion of making English the official language of the United States. “The other threat comes from those immigrants who do not come to America to become American but to use America for its financial, medical, and educational benefits while remaining attached to their own culture.”

            Which type of America would you like to call home? Do you prefer to live in a country where everyone can be considered “American,” or do you want to live in a nation that is divided among numerous minorities?

            For the an example of the second group, we need look no further than the way that the Democrat Party and the leftist media contrasted two black men recently. Harvard University considers Colin Kaepernick to be a “cultural hero” for kneeling during the National Anthem, while Kanye West is just a “token Negro” because he visited the White House and likes Donald Trump.

            This is a perfect example of the way that the Left divides people for political reasons. West recognizes that Donald Trump is acting for the good of the United States, and he supports him. He proudly wears his red “Make America Great Again” hat. The Left cannot have any black person break away from the “Democrat plantation” because it threatens the “electability of Democrats.” If Democrats do not keep all their black voters on their “plantation,” they will not win any more elections. That is the reason why they fan the flames of scorn, ridicule, and division.

            We must reach a place in the United States where all citizens will be plain, old, homogenized Americans. Otherwise, we will divide ourselves into destruction. Jesus Christ taught this principle plainly when he was accused of casting out devils by the power of the devil.

And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand (Matthew 12:25). 

            Abraham Lincoln spoke on this subject on June 16, 1858, after he had accepted the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination to be that state’s U.S. Senator. He did not win the election, but his “House Divided Speech” ranks with the Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural speech as one of his best-known speeches. The following is the best-known passage of the speech. 

A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new – North as well as South.

            Jesus Christ and Lincoln are not the only great men to speak of the importance of unity. George Washington was concerned about divisions in the young new nation and wrote the following in a letter to James Madison in November 1785 – nearly two years before the signing of the Constitution. 

We are either a United people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all matters of general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a National character to support – If we are not, let us no longer act a farce by pretending to it. for whilst we are playing a dble game, or playing a game between the two we never shall be consistent or respectable – but may be the dupes of some powers and, most assuredly, the contempt of all….

            If America is to stand strong, it must stand united. A house, country, or kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Americans must be Americans first and foremost!

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