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America searching for its soul

November 24, 2012
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

The America of the founding fathers has wandered far afield from the original design. The basic freedoms the population originally enjoyed have been pirated by special interest groups more concerned with their own agenda rather than what is good for the country as a whole. It is this perversion of the concept that is opposed in this work. Forces, groups and ideological agendas are competing for supremacy. Some the methods used can be considered as criminal in that they are especially designed to subvert the culture of the country and to replace it with unmanageable pieces that can destroy the underlying foundation of what we are as a nation. All citizens of this country are affected, and it is with the intent of this work to bring together all representatives of the various entities that are the citizenry of the United States national culture. One which embraces all with the only qualifier being that one is a citizen and desires to sit at the table with fellow citizens.

For several decades Americans have struggled to redefine who they are. The various verbal gymnastics to create and identify through hyphenation has still fallen drastically short of its goal. The object of including everyone has given rise to such terms as multiculturalism political correctness and hate crimes. America seems to have misplaced its roots. Today, the average teenager no longer knows what it is to be an American. Prior to the mid 1960s most American identified themselves through the concept of religion, fair play, sportsmanship, ethics,morals and freedoms expressed in the U.S. Constitution.

Ask a teenager today what is an American and rarely will these ideals be forthcoming. They would much rather select having a "wishbone" than a backbone.

In Europe, as in the U.S., we find it is immigration that causes the problem. We may look to ancient Rome for guidance here. The Romans were displaced by freed slaves, pagan cults and others not committed to the Roman way of life.

Freed slaves were "Roman" in name only. Although they dressed as Romans they did not fully grasp the concept of what it meant to be Roman. Rather, they carried the old slave ideals of conduct into their behavior as new citizens. In outward appearance, they imitated Romans, but they lacked the inner disposition to carry on the traditions of Rome. The country as a nation no longer had a commonality of purpose.

Today in the U.S., immigration numbers are rising. The new immigrants, however, are arriving in such vast numbers in such a short period of time, that the United States is finding itself in the same situation as ancient Rome. It is similar in this respect. While some of the new immigrants adopt the dress of the United States, they have not yet grasped the concept of what the older Americans consider what it is to be an "American." What may be at work here is de-individuating, a process wherein the individual is required to sacrifice individuality in the interest of the collective. American culture praises the individual rather than the collective group. Is the culture of minorities at fault for the failure of minorities to be better integrated into the major fabric of American society?

George Orwell would feel at home at this modern "newspeak" and take it warmly to his bosom. For in it he would find lies, deception and deceit: a true child of his own genre.

It is always in the best interest of the nation to have the common denominator or several common identifiers to profess what makes one belong to the nation. This belonging has several ways in which it is achieved.

One is by personal identity as a citizen of the country. This identity brings pride to the individual and provides a foundation for that person's place within the greater society of the nation. This identity is further enhanced by the citizen adopting the values of the country in the main. The citizen knows what it is "to be an American." There is a sense of belonging a "oneness".

Another "identifier" is the embracing of the common language. The language commonality is a requirement because within the language various nuances will not cause confusion, the way they might through translation. Additionally, quietly and without fanfare a bond forms between the speakers. The English language was selected at the outset as the language for the country. Although other languages were spoken it was understood that these other languages were but a temporary measure until the individual, or the family, acquired proficiency in the English language. The use of a singular language removes that ingredient from the mix that might be viewed as a separator between the entities. Also, it shows commitment on the part of the new comer that they are embracing the persona of the new land to which they emigrated.

Social scientist Emile Durkheim posited that "crime is a part of human nature." And what is crime? It is a social aberration of prescribed behavior. For crime not to exist would demand that all people act exactly alike. That this is unlikely to happen we would all agree. Then what makes us believe that we would all accept all other peoples without making some type of distinction? It is apparent that this is unrealistic. Yet we presuppose that is what will occur to eliminate prejudice, bigotry, racism and discrimination.

This essay will change nothing. This is based upon the realization that too many will look at the situation not as scholars but as tourists, venturing nothing, but merely being observers too frightened by the social minefield that awaits them to offer anything constructive. The America of old is gone. One need only to look at the 1950s to observe what this country was before the final slide to its present state. But it is instructional to muse and to reminisce on what we were. We will never be better. We can only strive to limit how far we stray from our "soul." But this political and criminal behavior previously outlined undermines the judicial system, can precipitate civil unrest or riots and generally prevents the wounds that are present from healing.

We are no better now than we were five thousand years ago. At basic levels mankind is still the scared organism it was then, fearful of the unknown, the different.

Joseph L. Kibitlewski, PhD.

Cape Coral



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