WASHINGTON. PragerU’s latest video “American values” is little more than historical fiction. American Values, Dennis Prager claims in the video, are a result of America’s unique position. As a country, we are not a nation of one people, like Italy which is only 7.5% non-Italian born (a percentage that is increasing with refugee immigration). We are not a nation of just one race or ethnicity. Instead, the PragerU video claims America is defined by three mottos that reflect our values :
1. E Pluribus Unum
3. In God We Trust.
E. Pluribus Unum
At the Constitutional signing in 1776, each state was independent. Five states – Virginia, New Hampshire, South Carolina, New Jersey, and Rhode Island – had already succeeded from Britain’s rule. When the national motto was first adopted, shortly after the founding in 1776, the Latin phrase E. Pluribus Unum referred to the 13 American Colonies becoming one nation. But this is not really correct.
The concept of anything national did not arise until the Constitutional Convention in 1787 when the “national” plan was thrown out in favor of the “federal” plan.
Are we a nation, or the secession of independent states?
Such claims redefine the founding of the republic. “American values” indicate, incorrectly, a value system of a single entity. That is to say, a single state in The United States is in contradiction to the founding where the Declaration of Independence defines America as free and independent states i.e. states united.
There were different values state to state. For example, one group may have the value that Sunday’s must be spent entirely in worship. While another may feel that Sunday should be spent entirely on family.
There are no “American values.” However, there are strong values in America.
These values of one, liberty and a national faith, Praeger says, are “the American Trinity.” His introduction indicates that America is the only nation in the world that is not defined by race and ethnicity. America is, Praeger says, defined by values that are exclusive to America.
This sort of fiction is at the heart of movements to “do away” with the Electoral college, the election process by which we elect our Chief Executive. The Electoral College, some argue, means that the “state,” not the popular vote of the people elects the President. And some feel that the popular vote should be the deciding vote, despite it giving more weight to the people in big cities, like New York or California, than given to Rhode Island or Wyoming, where populations are less.
American Values across America
If people accept this idea that there is a single value system for all 50 states, then the states have no more significance than the individual counties in any given state. The people of Butte Montana are merely the same Americans with the same values as the people of Chicago, Illinois.
So, are Illinois and Montana just scattered Americans living in different places with the same American values? Of course not.
So, why should the states via the electoral college, versus the popular vote, elect a president? Why not just let the people choose him nationally and forget the process as defined by American federalism. As one nation, not a collection of states.