The question of “who is America for?” has long been a debate between the various groups that assert themselves as the true sentinels of the American heart and soul. White nationalists claim the United States belongs to white Euro-Americans, for the “purest country” should belong to the “purest form of human being” – or so they say. There has long been an argument that America belongs to the Native Americans due to them being the earliest settlers of American soil. These assertions aren’t always based on race either. Some say the rich own America, while others claim it for the poor. Whenever there is such a prize as the United States up for grabs, there is no end to the line of interest groups that seek to establish themselves as its founder, protector, and leader.
Before I give my personal thoughts on this question, I think’s it’s important for me establish two beliefs that factor into my answer. The first belief is that the United States has a unique American culture that separates it from the rest of the world. The second is that the United States has a set of core values that, no matter who is in power, should be the guiding force of our conduct at home and throughout the world.
As far as my belief in an inherently American culture, many wouldn’t agree with me. Some would use America’s “melting pot” label to justify their argument that America is a collection of many different cultures that live side by side with one another. I’ll also use the melting pot argument, but with a slight variation. The United States is indeed a place for people of all races, creeds, colors, and cultures to congregate, but the cultures that people retain from their places of origin aren’t always applicable to the core values of America. So, what do we do in that situation? We take what is usable from the homeland culture and integrate it into the existing American culture, while, at the same time, discarding what is either inapplicable or toxic to the United States.
When I use the word “toxic,” that may seem offensive to some readers, for there is a loud collection of people that greatly believe in the equality of all cultures. Unfortunately, for them at least, I’m not one of those people. I don’t think someone should be written off because of where they come from, nor do I think their home country should be an enemy of the United States because of its culture. However, a certain amount of evolution – Americanization, if you will – would have to occur if they would hope to comfortably ingratiate themselves into the American way of life. Just because their culture was engrained in them from an early age doesn’t mean it’s morally sound. There are certain cultural characteristics from around the world that just don’t fit within the American mission. Something like Sharia Law – or any other form of theocratic order for that matter – goes against the values of the American system, which requires the halting of its entry into the culture of the United States.
This brings me to my second belief – the idea of core American values. The belief in, and the acceptance of, the core values of the United States is what separates someone who’s capable of being an American from someone who’s incapable of being an American – at least in a spiritual sense. In my mind, there are five core American values: liberty, equality, self-government, individualism, and unity. I hope any Americans who are reading this already recognize, and subscribe to, these values. In my view, they are the building blocks of our nation, and serve as the political and moral compass for all the decisions of the United States.
Now, I move on to the question that serves as the topic of this piece. “Who is America for?” Well, to that I say: America is for anyone. But, there’s a caveat of course. America is for anyone that is capable of assimilating into its culture, and accepting the values that I have listed above. While I’ve previously stated that I don’t see myself as a nationalist, I recognize that I subscribe to a certain kind of civic nationalism, or liberal nationalism as it is also known. By this I mean that I reject any xenophobic notion of what makes an American, and simply call for the adherence to the classically liberal values of liberty, equality, self-government, individualism, and unity.
I feel it important to make clear that I’m not only talking about certain immigrants and refugees who are in opposition to the American way of life. There are certain people within the United States that I don’t see as compatible with the core values of America, such as the white nationalists that I mentioned at the top of my piece. Anyone who is legally designated as an American that outright rejects someone because of their sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. is, in my opinion, only capable of that designation because of their blood ties to the land. If not for the sole purpose that they were born in the United States, they would be irreconcilable as an American citizen and shunned as un-American.
America is for anyone that loves the sweetness of liberty, and rejects any urge to deny those that seek that same sweetness. The United States does not suffer aristocrats, despots, crusaders, or subjugators. That is why our culture and values stand in stark contrast to the mission of those kind of men. So, if you’re willing to accept that, America is for you.