Americans must reject the skin-deep identities of race and sexual orientation and rediscover their true national identities and their love for America
Assimilation is a long word in both English and Hebrew, but where I come from, it’s a four-letter word. Had my ancestors chosen to assimilate to their host societies after they left Judea sometime before the fifth century AD, I would not be a Jew and that, to me, would be a fate worse than death. Had they chosen to assimilate, as many of their refugee friends undoubtedly have, I would have been Italian, or German, or Ukrainian, but certainly not Jewish. Jews were able to contribute so much to the world precisely because the refused to assimilate. It was the unassimilated Jewish culture that gave us Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, and Jerry Seinfeld.
Last week, president Trump, in addressing a group of Jewish Republicans in Las Vegas, referred to Israeli prime minister Netanyahu as “your prime minister”. Reactions immediately followed from both sides and, as is so often the case with Trump analysis, they were both equally wrong. “See, we were right all along with our dual loyalty accusations!” and “Trump does not think of Jews as Americans!” yelled the Left. “Trump didn’t mean anything by this, relax already,” was the response from the right. But Trump did mean something and what he meant makes all the difference. He simply acknowledged that he was addressing people belonging to a separate ethno-religious group, members of a distinct tribe and that this tribe had a place of origin, a homeland, a country to which these people felt a special affinity. That country is Israel and the leader of that country, in the old corporate “dotted line” kind of way, is also the leader of these Jewish Americans. He is truly “their” prime minister. No, not quite in the same way that he is the prime minister of those Jews who reside in Israel, but still.
You see, for Trump, his dad (who was born in the US) was German and his mom, who came to America in her late teens was forever Scottish. Judge Curiel, who presided over the Trump University case was Mexican, not because Trump had any doubts about where he was born or his American citizenship, but because Trump understood and acknowledged a simple truth about the judge’s tribal belonging. Curiel belonged to the Mexican tribe and since Trump was engaging in political rhetoric that was not friendly to Mexico, the judge’s impartiality could have been and should have been called into question. We are all human after all. Needless to say, the fact that Trump’s comments caused an outrage was in and of itself an outrage. Every jury consultant in America makes it his business to specialize in the multitude of American tribes and had Curiel been a candidate to serve on a jury in the trial of a Mexican-American, his tribal belonging would have undoubtedly come into play. If that is true for one out of twelve jurors, should it not be even more so when it comes to the one person who has all the power, the judge?
America had, mostly in colonial times, something approaching a single tribe; that of people descended from the British Isles. Its growth as a country, however, was as a grouping of tribes: Irish, Italian, German, Asian, Eastern European, and Jewish. Post Civil War, African Americans began to play an important role in the public life of the country as well. This often leads to America being called a “melting pot”, but this is a misleading and even dangerous characterization. A melting pot implies the shedding of distinct cultural identities, the creation of a new amalgam from ingredients that, as a result of the melting process, become extinct. This is not what happened in America and thank Goodness. A much better analogy is that of an alloy. Alloys gain their strength and other desirable properties not because the different metals and other elements are blended together creating a homogeneous mixture, but precisely because they retain their individuality. Steel is stronger than iron because the hard carbon inclusions structurally stiffen up the soft iron matrix in which they reside. Stainless steel does not rust precisely because the chromium in it does not lose its unique ability to produce beautiful, shiny and and sticky “rust”, so different from the brown and crumbly iron-oxide. Chromium inclusions, spread evenly across the iron-carbon matrix extend their umbrella of protection across the entire alloy, freeing us from the need to worry about rust and extending the use of steel to many important applications.
America worked when the individual components in its alloy worked together to create a country that was strong, free, and prosperous. It worked, because each tribe realized the beauty of the overall structure bequeathed to America by its Founding Fathers and because each tribe realized the importance of playing by the rules. These rules included conducting your public life in English, following the law, and most importantly, pledging allegiance to the Constitution and to the political process that it created. But there was another, much more important though unspoken rule. It was a rather simple one, too. All it demanded of Americans of all tribes, be they the WASP descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims in their Beacon Hill mansions or off-the-boat Italians in Boston’s North End, was this one thing: leave your tribalism at home; keep it to your family, your community, but away form the public square.
America was always great, regardless of what hateful identity politics peddlers like Eric Holder may say. Not only that, it was always great for everyone in it. Slaves? Yes, a truly horrible institution. And yet, on the whole, West Africans were mistreated more by their Muslim neighbors from the north than their white American “owners”. Gays? America has been friendlier to them than any other place in the world, unless of course, one engages in shameless anachronism, the cardinal sin of historians. Irish, Italians, Jews? Same thing. America was always great not the least because each tribe clung to its tribal identity within the family hearth. Sometimes, folks like Mayer, Boiardi, Anheuser, Busch, and Coors used their tribal traditions to make lots of money, but never to undermine the political framework that made it all work.
Until now. The Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s may have been as necessary as it was inevitable. It may have produced justice and equality for people, African Americans, who richly deserved it and have been long denied a seat at the table. But it also, like most things, had a dark underbelly, an undesirable side effect. It taught a generation of unscrupulous and power hungry money grabbers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton that the Constitution, which was designed to defend, not attack, can be perverted and made into a weapon for self-advancement. These people, with the help of many others, notably many American Jews, weaponized the equal protection clause of the Constitution. All it took was the realization that, to paraphrase Oprah, anyone can get a car. Anyone can be a minority, a protected class. Out with “homosexuals”, in with every letter in the alphabet. If your particular sexual tendencies do not yet have a letter, don’t worry, tomorrow they surely will.
The Constitution, a purposefully defensive structure designed to protect ethnic and religious minorities from discrimination by the government, was turned on its head by a combination of mountebank politicians and activist judges who converted it into a weapon of mass destruction designed to destroy every American who could not find shelter in one “protected class” or another. The check boxes on application forms proliferated: are you disabled? a veteran? a Native American? an Inuit? an African American? a Pacific Islander? Are you Asian? Middle Eastern? Male? Female? Other (specify)? “No!!! I’m just a guy!!!” you want to scream at your computer screen. But to no avail. You know that under the new rules, a perverted tribal identity, one that has nothing to do with culture, beer, or sausages, one that has nothing in common with decency and beauty has taken over the country. This tribal identity is a virus that can only survive by dividing, by inventing deus ex machina more and more new and ever more ridiculous “identities”, each one a “protected class” and each one, umbilical cord still intact, already having a ready to wear history of historical oppression, of horrific wrongs that must now be rectified.
And how are these wrongs going to be rectified? Well, we all know how. By preferential access to employment, education, bank loans, and anything else that is the equivalent of money. But wait, there is more. If you sign up for membership in one of our new identity groups in the next three minutes, we will throw in the humiliation of your neighbors who have yet to jump on the identity politics train either because they are stupid or because they are white and straight, which, after all, is the same thing. We will get them to grovel at your feet, to willingly debase themselves, and to ask, no, to beg, for forgiveness for whatever you want, regardless of anything they or their ancestors may or may not have actually done. And if they refuse? Well, should they be so reckless, we’ll get our Schutzstaffel in Silicon Valley to make sure that get shamed, fired, deplatformed, shunned, and generally speaking made into the untermensch they so richly deserve to be.
There is only one antidote to the insane and deadly virus of identity politics and it is love. But not the new agey kind of wishy washy love. No, what we need is love that is concrete, real, actionable. We need to love ourselves for who we are first. Humans, Americans with or without a hyphen, people who take pride in everything that our ancestors, our tribes have accomplished, all the great things they gave us and the world. We need to also stop confusing love with greed. Loving money is un-American. The Founding Fathers and the majority of the people in the Thirteen Colonies didn’t risk their lives and rebel against Britain to make a buck. Greed is not a good thing and neither is unbridled ambition. Let’s leave that to the peddlers of identity politics, the Eric Holders of the world. Human dignity, self-worth, HONOR, that is what love is all about and that is what the first generation of free Americans had fought for. They set out to create a new nation without, for even the briefest of moments, forgetting their European origins, their tribal belongings, their cultural heritage. The Founding Fathers, in a very true sense were dual nationalists; they were Americans, but had Trump been alive back then, he would have called them English, and they would not have been offended. They rejected King George III and the British parliament’s authority over them, but they never rejected their cultural ties to Europe, to Britain, and to Christianity.
This dual nationalism, the alloy of many parts, each true to its own nature, yet working for the common good within a clearly defined framework is what America is all about, what has made her great always. We must rediscover this true nationalism and use it to inoculate ourselves against the peddlers of petty divisions and fake historical grievances and then and only then we can make America great again.