Striving to be a ‘mongrel’ nation
Published 10:13 pm Monday, June 26, 2017
By Joseph L. Bass
During my long years, I have witnessed many changes in the United States. Some have been improvements; others have been destructive to our unity and well being.
Few Americans understand that both the improvements and the destructiveness are, in part, a result of the challenges woven into the original fabric of our nation. These challenges also define our differences from other nations.
Email newsletter signup
First, we are a nation based on laws as established in our Constitution and enacted by the federal, state, county and city governments. A great deal of this law comes from our use and preservation of principles found in English Common law, though the English themselves have long-since abandoned many of their original principles.
Also, we are a nation that sets aside centuries of conflict and hatred among people from different European ethnic groups. Even today, the English eat “chips” and would never think of eating “French fries.”
The largest percentage of original immigrants into the United States came from Germany. On Feb. 2, 1945, a German killed my uncle when he led a company-level charge against the Siegfried Line between Belgium and Germany. But it would be un-American of me to hate German-Americans today.
A major source of today’s conflict in the United States is based on the fact that it was not possible to form a “united” states without our nation first being class-based, instead of being based on equality. When Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” he didn’t mean all men.
But we have redefined his words to read, “all men and women are created equal.” We strive to turn these words into reality.
In structuring the United States, we were originally a class-based society. African, Asians and Native Americans were not citizens. White women were partially citizens but did not have equal property and civil rights and could not vote.
In striving toward becoming a nation where all people are treated equally, we have created the most creative, most inventive, wealthiest nation in the history of the world.
Adolf Hitler didn’t have a high regard for Americans. From his point of view, we were a “mongrel” nation, being a mix of racial and ethnic groups. He held to the ancient idea that the most powerful, successful, wealthy nation would be racially and ethnically pure. We mongrels showed him how wrong he was.
We have made a great deal of progress toward making a reality of the principle that all men and women are created equal and have equal rights. But we still have a way to go.
Today there exists hatred among some people along racial and ethnic lines. There exists a serious unreasonableness among some groups regarding being a nation based on laws that are blind to issues of race and/or ethnicity.
To overcome these challenges and become a nation based on equality, there is a need to find topics about which we can have civil dialogues, learn to understand each other’s point of view, and reach consensus to move our nation toward achieving our ideals.
Joseph L. Bass is the executive director of ABetterSociety.Info Inc., a nonprofit organization in Hobson. Email him at ABetterSociety1@aol.com.