What’s with the use of hyphens to describe us? Are you a Mexican-American, African-American, Arab-American, Asian-American, European-American or some other hyphen, or are you just an American?
Ethnic “hyphenism” (my own word) is just another form of tribalism. In order to gain a power base, liberals need to fit each of us into a nice, neat little box and then have us compete against each other so they can champion a cause.
When the citizens of this country want to build a wall along our border with Mexico, we are anti-Mexican-American. When we arrest a terrorist, we are anti-Arab-American. Only by breaking us into tribes can the liberal politicians gain power by defending “our” tribe.
When my grandparents arrived at Ellis Island in the early 1900s, they did not call themselves Italian-Americans. They became Americans, and they were proud to be Americans. They did not want to be classified as anything else.
In Iraq, people are Sunnis, Shiites or Kurds. Because of this lack of nationalism, these tribes have been distrustful of each other and have fought with each other for years. No matter the country, tribalism destroys the unity of a country so that the nation is unable to function for the good of its citizens.
Our forefathers knew that this newborn nation had to be unified if it was to survive. The Constitution starts off, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, ...” Our forefathers took separate states and merged them into one union. We are not Georgia-Americans — we are Americans.
If I am rushed to the emergency room, I don’t care about the doctor’s ethnicity or his/her religious affiliation, as long as the doctor can keep me alive. When the Taliban is shooting at an American soldier in Afghanistan, that soldier doesn’t care about the ethnic background of the guy next to him or his religion or even if he is gay, as long as that next soldier can shoot straight and help keep each of them alive while defeating the enemy. When you call 911, do you ask that the firefighter be of a certain ethnic background, or are you interested in saving your home from a fire?
Tribalism has no place in America. The Constitution was established to “insure domestic tranquility,” not domestic separatism. In 1915, President Teddy Roosevelt said, “A hyphenated American is not an American at all.” He continued, “The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.”
Anyone who uses a hyphenated description of their background is cheapening the value of America. We all live in the greatest country in the world, and we are lucky to be American. Let’s forget our ethnic backgrounds and stand proud to be Americans.
Being an American does not mean that we should forget our ancestral heritage. After all, it is that blended heritage that makes America what it is. Let’s all be part of that “more perfect union,” and proudly proclaim, “I am an American.”