“I believe we are witnessing the beginning of a new race of men”
Anonymous British Officer after the Battle of Saratoga, 1777
This comment, made by a soldier now forgotten by history, was more prophetic and more significant than he probably realized at the time.
As prescient as he may have been, little could he have predicted the mass immigration to American shores that has taken place over the succeeding centuries.
Little could he have realized the beacon of hope and promise that America has represented to people from all four corners of the world. Little could he have realized how many different races, creeds, and colors would come to America.
However, come they did. They came for different reasons. They came to escape oppression of all forms; political, economic, religious. They came to seek better opportunities.
Some came, as we are painfully aware, under the cruelest circumstances imaginable. However, even they, as Thomas Sowell has stated, were the progenitors of people who enjoy the benefits of America. Indeed, people still immigrate to America from Africa.
As they arrived, they maintained their cultures, initially, and then absorbed the dominant Anglo-Saxon culture. Nevertheless, these cultures intermingled. These cultures borrowed from one another, they amalgamated, to form a distinctly, unique American culture. A unique race of people.
This fact is irrefutable. Examples of this "melting pot" abound.
Our art, our language, our music, and our literature evidence it. After all, what is Rock and Roll but a hybrid of African, and Scotch-Irish music. American English borrows freely from Yiddish, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and other languages. Our movie and literary heroes reflect the self-reliance of the Native Americans and the industry of Europeans, as well as the virtues of many other groups.
Our values, beliefs, and attitudes are those of a people who value freedom, who have experienced oppression, and eschew a monarchy. More than once you will hear a recent immigrant chastise a discontented American citizen by saying “You don't know how good you have it here!”
America has an express culture, a unique culture, one that is different than the sum of its parts. Our constituent cultures, initially Indian, Northern European, Southern European and African, have combined with various Asian cultures to form a new society.
This is the result of over two hundred years of the blending of the different immigrant groups. It is the result of the fusion of different cultures.
It is the concept expressed in the motto “E Pluribus Unum,” recommended by the artist, Pierre Eugène Du Simitière. He was a consultant to the committee Congress appointed on July 4, 1776 to design a seal for the United States of America.
A unique American culture, a guiding light, is an idea expressed in John Winthrop’s sermon in 1630. He said that the Massachusetts colony would be a “city upon a hill” to be observed by the whole world.
Yet, there are those that do not want this. They deride the concept of the melting pot. They disdain “E Pluribus Unum.” These people believe in the hyphenation of America. They speak about an America that is multicultural. They envision an America that is not a melting pot. Instead America is a tapestry where everyone maintains their individual ethnic identity.
This tapestry theory is the current dogma of the liberal intelligentsia. The notion that we are separate but equal was disavowed a generation ago. For some to maintain that we must retain our ethnic identities is absurd.
Tapestries become unwoven. Such a philosophy will only lead to the balkanization of America.
America was created by Anglo Saxon, Protestant males. Why is that wrong?
Yes, they excluded some people and indirectly sanctioned a horrendous practice. However, slavery was abolished - at great cost. The exculded were included. It took time for this to evolve. Yet, there is no other country in the world where so many different people live among each other and do so freely.
The Founding Fathers created a nation that has been a symbol of hope for the rest of the world. Why would so many people have sacrificed so much -indeed risked their lives - to come here if it were not so? Whatever its faults, in the context of the period, at that time in world history, those men created the greatest government in human history.
America is not united by a language, or by genes, or geography. What unites America is an idea. America is a race united by the idea of freedom: freedom to condemn or praise the government; freedom to pursue your fortune; freedom to worship as you please, or to not worship at all; freedom from government interference or tyranny; freedom from fear of foreign and domestic enemies.
There is - and should be - only one race in America, the American race.
This idea was recently reinforced by my nine year old Sicilian cousin Lorenzo. He loves American baseball. Unfortunately, there are no youth baseball leagues in Sicily, nor are there places to buy equipment.
My wife and I bought him a bat and ball so he can practice. His mother pitched to him while he took some swats at the ball. He did very well for someone who never batted before.
He looked at his mother and said, " I must have American blood in me."