WASHINGTON: It is one of the most common statements by politicians. It is a media favorite response to the issue of illegal immigration: “We are a nation of immigrants” they say. Moreover, we are all united as one because we are immigrants. Unfortunately, this is not how America has always been. The concept that “we” are a nation of immigrants has noticeable flaws.
The statement of “we are a nation” is false.
Before Lincoln’s ignoble blather in the Gettysburg Address, we were a union. Blather? Check out H.L. Mencken’s noble blistering of the Gettysburg Address:
“But let us not forget that it is oratory, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it! Put it into the cold words of everyday! The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination — “that government of the people, by the people, for the people,” should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves. What was the practical effect of the battle of Gettysburg? What else than the destruction of the old sovereignty of the States, i. e., of the people of the States?
The Confederates went into battle an absolutely free people; they came out with their freedom subject to the supervision and vote of the rest of the country—and for nearly twenty years that vote was so effective that they enjoyed scarcely any freedom at all. Am I the first American to note the fundamental nonsensicality of the Gettysburg address? If so, I plead my aesthetic joy in it in amelioration of the sacrilege.” – H.L. Mencken
Nevertheless, before fire and bullets forged the Union with the slaughter of 600 thousand Americans into a consolidation of a nation state, it was a Confederated republican union.
Lincoln’s Gettysburg address changes who we are
Lincoln, with a wink and a nod, slipped in his subliminal message because the War intended to change the union to a nation. Now we are an involuntary nation. A nation of whatever Washington politicians say it is. Politicians now repeating their soapbox hype “We are a nation of immigrants.”
One might take note regarding the above reference slaughter how each state, North and South, proudly carried their state flags into battle. Furthermore, there were 76 years (not “fourscore and seven”) of the union existence before the date of the Address.
The year 1776 was not the beginning of any nation. In spite of the current crop of unread historians like Eric Foner:
“The Declaration of Independence declared the United States an independent nation.” – Eric Foner, American Historian
“We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.’” – Declaration of Independence
However, today, localism is a thing of the past in this amalgamation of egalitarian Americans from sea to shining sea — this nation of immigrants.
The MCDonalds’s in Portland Oregon is the same as the one in Miami Florida. Everything and everybody is the same. We are all Americans and immigrants that are “exceptional” as the politicians swear.
There are some that I know who are not immigrants.
The “We are a nation…” slogan is a generic cause for the hoorah of “God Bless America” and the driveling neocons’ screed about so-called “American Exceptionalism.”
It also opens the door to a pack of animals at our borders crying for asylum.
The exceptionalism of these illegal immigrants includes exceptional drug dealers. Politicians seek the exceptional voters among them. Lobbyists fight the for exceptional cheap lobby for the industries they represent
Yes, those that seek illegal immigration have exceptional reasons. That mostly means putting more money in the proponents pocket.
America – a group of colonies settled under various covenants with the King of England with support by the parliament of the crown.
The first granted by King James I, April 10, 1606. Settlements of the first 13 colonies were separate, and its settlers were of shared beliefs and customs. Those who came afterward (immigrants) were taken a few at a time into each chosen settlement and were allowed to assimilate into that culture and those customs.
Each colony was independent, until the Revolutionary War when after the Treaty of Paris (13 separate treaties signed in one document) they took their place in the world of nations as free and independent states (plural). But no longer colonies. Simply put, the states were not a nation of anything from the beginning. They were a union of colonists who accepted immigrants on a small and cautious basis.
Had hoards of invaders tried to force their way in, these states would not have waited on the “government” to defend them. They would have defended themselves. They would have attended to their own “national emergency.”
Moreover, if there were a Nancy Pelosi sitting around chewing her cud or a Chuck Schumer smirking, the people would have thrown some inappropriate language at them.