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Just What Is An American?

Submitted by Rahul D. Manchanda, Esq…

The greatest mistake any leader, or moneyed powerful individual, or even masses of people (all 3 of which tend to have the loudest voices) is to culturally appropriate unto themselves, just exactly what it means to be an American, based on their own selfish notion of what it means.

The fact remains that the ideal of Americanism is a concept – a truly growing, organic, ever changing, and ever expanding idea that is enshrined within its founding documents and laws.

For example, the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, US Constitution, Civil Rights Act, and the Equal Rights Amendment, among scores of other acts of legislation, point to an ever growing ongoing journey to forge a new nation, just like ancient Rome did, united by a common destiny, and drawn from different experiences, cultures, cuisines, religions, ethnicities, races, nationalities, and world views.

So when President Trump on July 15, 2019 told four minority female congresswomen in sum and substance to “go back to there they came from” if they “didn’t like America,” he trampled over their own views, ideals, and experiences as Americans.

Quite simply his statement was an appropriation of what it means to be an American, from the point of view of a German/ Irish American senior citizen male, to a group of Latin/ Somali/ Palestinian/ African-American younger females.

Perhaps President Trump should re-visit his own people’s racial history, wherein the Irish were systematically excluded by the previously arrived and established Anglican Protestants, or even with the Germans in America who were actually interred in camps during the periods of World War I & World War II.

The German-American Experience

During World War II, the legal basis for this detention was under Presidential Proclamation 2526, made by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt under the authority of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

With the U.S. entry into World War I, German nationals were automatically classified as “enemy aliens.”

Two of the four main World War I-era internment camps were located in Hot Springs, N.C. and Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer wrote that “All aliens interned by the government are regarded as enemies, and their property is treated accordingly.”

The Irish-American Experience

In 1836, young Benjamin Disraeli wrote: “The Irish hate our order, our civilization, our enterprising industry, our pure religion. This wild, reckless, indolent, uncertain and superstitious race have no sympathy with the English character. Their ideal of human felicity is an alternation of clannish broils and coarse idolatry. Their history describes an unbroken circle of bigotry and blood.”

Nineteenth-century Protestant American “Nativist” discrimination against Irish Catholics reached a peak in the mid-1850s when the Know-Nothing Movement tried to oust Catholics from public office.

Much of the opposition came from Irish Protestants, as in the 1831 riots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After 1860, many Irish sang songs about “NINA signs” reading Help wanted – no Irish need apply.

The 1862 song “No Irish Need Apply” was inspired by NINA signs in London.

Alongside “No Irish Need Apply” signs, in the post-World War II years, signs saying “No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs” or similar anti-Irish sentiment began to appear as well.

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Platon
Platon
July 18, 2019

An American is an asshole.

For those who tend to the Baroque in their reasoning, you may add; “who thinks his temporary and illusory privileges are granted by God and not by the whims and needs of the Deep State.”

I prefer the former, strong version; “An American is an asshole.”

Mark Twain said much the same thing;
“An American is a person who has freedom of speech and freedom of conscience and the prudence to use neither.”

Vera Gottlieb
Vera Gottlieb
July 18, 2019

“Just what is an American?” Lately I think Americans themselves don’t know.

Walter Clemsy
Walter Clemsy
July 18, 2019

I think it’s a general consensus that you’re considered at least un-american if not anti-american, if you hate the country’s flag. I don’t think the founders planned for US citizens to identify themselves as [insert ethnicity first, then add american]. And I’m completely sure that the founders didn’t intend to create a multi-cultural society as it’s understood today. I don’t think Lincoln envisioned a multi-racial society when he pursued abolitionism. And I do know that Disraeli convinced the Royal house to adopt circumcision. We can safely say the most of the world is crazy, and the US is possibly the… Read more »

Book of the Month Club
Book of the Month Club
July 18, 2019

Well, take it from this American for what it’s worth. We’re turning mighty ugly.

Joe
Joe
July 18, 2019

I remember seeing a sign that said “No Irish, no Blacks” in the window of a boarding house in London, in 1956.

Joe
Joe
July 18, 2019

The people of Mexico are Americans. The people of Argentina are Americans. The people of Brazil are Americans. The people of Colombia are Americans, etc, etc. Why should one geographically relatively small area out of a huge continent, the USA, be allowed to appropriate the term exclusively?

Smoking Eagle
Smoking Eagle
Reply to  Joe
July 19, 2019

Exactly. There are 35 sovereign nations and 12 dependent territories in the Americas: 12 in South America, seven in Central American, 13 Caribbean island nations, 12 dependent Caribbean island territories, and three North American countries – and their people are ALL Americans. In English, it’s hard to turn “United States of America” into a Proper Adjective, such as England to English, or Canada to Canadian. Spanish manages it, though: “estadounidenses” (unitedstatesians). USers might be an acceptable alternative to “Americans”.

Platon
Platon
Reply to  Smoking Eagle
July 20, 2019

“estadounidenses”? Could that be translated as ‘ the state of being singularly stupid’?

Cap960
Cap960
July 19, 2019

What is an American?
I know, I know! An American is a liar, a thug, a thief, and a killer. Did I miss anything?

Capo di Tutti Capi
Capo di Tutti Capi
Reply to  Cap960
July 19, 2019

Yes, you’re required to follow them all with: ‘but for your own good and with the best of intentions’ Ha Ha

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