Once upon a time in America there was a great feeling of "WE." We were all Americans. I hear politicians make silly swooning statements regarding the days after 9/11, indicating that they thought it was soooo terrific that we had all come together with one purpose. They say, "We were all Americans after 9/11." I don't think so. Not by a long shot. We haven't been united as Americans since the 1960's, the era of hyphens. In the 1960's, out of the progressive black organizations, came the idea that to divide Black-Americans/ African-Americans was suddenly a source of pride. Prior to this, the hyphenated Americans were looked down upon as 'Not quite American,' not fully American. Immigrants who had loyalty to some other father nation were down-graded to be less than 'real' Americans.
Funny, before that, as I grew up in integrated schools in Ohio, we were all Americans. Period. No hyphens. No funny business. No reason to think otherwise. We were Americans....black, white, oriental, mixed, whatever. No one in my entire childhood made any big deal of anyone's ancestral heritage as if they were less than American. My great-great grandparents were Germans who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1800's to escape religious persecution. Believe me, they were glad to be here and proud to be strong, independent, contributors to the American way of life, and free to be whoever they were. The blacks I knew as I was growing up were beside me in school, worked in middle class jobs, owned businesses, and also, free to be whoever they were. In my school, they were tandem with us...athletes, cheerleaders, scholars...side by side. As with any 'group' of people, there were many differences in their achievements, but they were not looked upon as a lesser class of people. Did I grow up in utopia? No. Just a small town in mid-century America. What small amount of discrimination I saw, was just that....small and not tolerated.
The issue of hyphenated Americans was addressed in an earlier time by leaders who saw the hyphens exactly for what they were; divisive. Since I addressed Teddy Roosevelt previously, and not in a supportive way, I will now give you something from Teddy Roosevelt that I support. Here is a yr. 1915 quote from him on the hyphenated American concept:
"There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all... The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic... There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else."
From that time until the 1960's, being hyphenated was a derogatory term. Somehow in the sixties, all of a sudden it was the battle cry of blacks to say, "I'm Black, I'm proud." As if whites were walking around just saying, "I'm White, I'm proud." Then PBS showed the movie "Roots," sometime in the 1970's to reinforce the African loyalties of blacks in America. This morphed into African-American hyphenated everything. Blacks in America decided they weren't really Americans, they were African-Americans.
Today, besides being divided up into political polar opposites, our country is divided into every ethnic and country-of-origin designation possible. Is it any wonder that America is at odds with itself? No one seems to know where their loyalties lie. More time is spent on encouraging "diversity" than unity. No consensus can be achieved with this kind of premise. None. As long as children are taught that they are really something other than Americans, that they are Africans first, or Muslims first, or Mexicans first, gay first, gender first, or whatever else first, there can be no consensus on America first.
Compounding the dangerously ridiculous is that we now have one of the hyphenated as President of the United States, who billed himself as a "uniter" but now can easily be seen as one of the most divisive personalities to ever hit the political stage. None of Obama's policies have gained consensus anywhere in America. He has people divided on health care, cap and trade, bailouts, Afghanistan, and everything else he touches. He has divided people up into camps....either socialist or freedom loving American. Everything he proposes is un-American at its core. The irony is that so many Americans were voting based on the hope that his Presidency would end the divide and end the hyphens. They thought Obama would represent the all-inclusive America that we, out here in the middle of America, would like to see. Instead, he is carving us up into hispanics, blacks, muslims, gays/lesbians/transgenders, socialists, big-government, globalists, etc. against the rest of us; whites, anglo-saxon, heterosexual, constitutional, Christian, capitalist, freedom loving Americans. Wherever you look within his government, you find people with an axe to grind, an agenda supporting one group or another, but none who are Americans first.
Obama will never create a consensus out of "diversity." A successful country doesn't celebrate its 'diversity.' It celebrates its common love of the tenets on which the country is based. This is a lesson that evidently Obama and the Marxists surrounding him never learned in the halls of Harvard and Yale. They must have spent more time on "Divide and Conquer" than learning the lessons of American exceptionalism, the U.S. Constitution, and how America's success is based on the respect for the individual, not the "group" think of hyphens.