America is in crisis. America is always in crisis, but most Americans don’t recognize that simple fact of history. We brought the art of the duel to these shores. And the vendetta. We are always looking for a fight because we were Europe’s brawlers and Europe was happy to be rid of us. We brought our choices of weapons, and the subjects of our debates, with us from Europe. Which is why your opinion doesn’t count if you’re not fluent in the Euro-American culture known as Americanism. This is not to say that you’re not the subject of one or more of the debates, for you most surely are. But you can’t change our thinking. Only we as Americans can.
The current debate isn’t about immigration, although it is. It isn’t about unfair international trade practices, although it is. It isn’t about economic equality, or the Second Amendment, or White Nationalism or corrupt politics.
- It is about who is an American.
I am an American. I was born in this country, as were my parents. All of my grandparents came to the United States from Italy. They were not Americans. Which makes my parents part of a transitional generation. They were born and educated here, but they were raised by people who were, culturally-speaking, not from here. The understanding of how the world works is passed down from parent to child. What my parents got was the wisdom of a place where little had changed over centuries. It was probably great advice for streets in Calabria or fields outside of Sacco, but not much use in the Bronx.
Who is an American can only be answered by other Americans. The impression we make on others tells them who we are. If you live and work here and don’t make any effort to learn to speak English, you’re not an American. You’re not even under consideration, no matter what the law says. And worse, in these trying times, you’re a target — for the aforementioned White Nationalists, crooked immigration attorneys and every other sort of fraudster. You’re here for the money. That’s fine. You earned it. Don’t forget to take it with you when you leave.
For everyone else, the mission is clear. There are two cultural societies in America. The first consists of Americans. These are people who have met the requirements for office, which consist of loyalty to the nation and adoption of…