Consider these three scenarios:
Picture this: You own a boarding house. Residents of the house went through a vetting process that included an application, agreeing to the terms and signing a lease. They pay a deposit and rent and move in. Pretty normal stuff.
You own a boarding house. You go out and capture some people, drag them back to your place in chains and force them to do your bidding. They are your slaves…until a person who has authority over you sets them free from their bondage.
Now picture this: You own a boarding house. People you don’t know break into the house and occupy some of the rooms. They eat your food, use your utilities and furnishings, all while not paying rent. Time goes by and it’s evident they are not going to leave unless you make them. So, what do you do? Inexplicability you tell them that they can stay with all the rights and privileges of paying residents.
The scenarios explained:
The first is like our country throughout the 1600, 1700, 1800s and into the 1900s. Immigrants came to this country, learned our language and we became a melting pot.
The second illustrates the slavery that plagued too many in this country until the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862.1
The third illustration is exactly what President Obama did this past week.
Nancy Pelosi has liken what Obama did to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, saying, “Does the public know the Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order?” Pelosi asked reporters Thursday. “People have to understand how presidents have made change in our country, Congress catching up, and in the case of Ronald Reagan, improving what Congress has done.” Yes, it could be said that it was an executive order. But the comparison stops there. Consider:
- The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in a time of war—a war to set men free.
- It set people free.
- It corrected a moral wrong.
- Set no one free.
- Rewards those who have “burglarized” our country by allowing them to say.
- It’s immoral in that it punishes those who have immigrated, jumped through all the hoops and became legal citizens.
Some may argue that Obama corrected a moral wrong, allowing “good people” to come out of hiding. Who can follow that logic? Who hides? Those who have something to hide. They love darkness because it’s easier to hide. Those with nothing to hide love the light.
When I was taught US history in the fifth grade and beyond, the textbooks and teachers would talk about how our nation was a melting pot. Immigrants from around the globe came to this country and added their ingredients to what became a uniquely American culture. We were all Americans. Sometimes it was described as a stew, where all the ingredients cooked together and individual flavors were muted. Now we’re more of a soup, and individual flavors is the emphasis.
Theodore Roosevelt, in 1915, said, “There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism…The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English- Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian- Americans, or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality than with the other citizens of the American Republic…a hyphenated American is not an American at all.”
There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism…
This was almost 100 years ago and it’s becoming evident that his opinion was really a prophecy that is now coming true. If we were a melting pot, celebrating our unique American culture, immigrants would be eager to join us—legally. Not under cover of darkness, hiding in shame.
The blame can not completely be placed on the hapless Obama. He really is out of his element. Our tangle of squabbling nationalities began years ago—some point the 1960s—and only gotten worse over time.
The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. –Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address
No one man can lead us out of our tangle of squabbling nationalities back to our melting pot. However, a Ronald Reagan or John F. Kennedy type could surely inspire the better angels of our nature. This country is headed in the wrong direction and like a giant ship, will take time to turn around. It was Kennedy who, in his inaugural address, said, “All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days; nor in the life of this Administration; nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”
Yes, let us begin…
1 Some will quibble that the slaves weren’t really freed until later, which is true, but this is when it began.