America is losing both its national identity and its unity in a trend toward tribalism. The concept of E Pluribus Unum is weaker than any time in American history – with the possible exception of the Civil War era.
Today, it is arguably even worse than the Civil War. In the mid-1800s, the nation was starkly divided on one fault-line that ran between the north and south … between free states and slave states … between Republican abolitionists and Democrat slave owners. But it was resolved when the armies of the Confederacy surrendered in 1865 – and the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments were added to the Constitution.
Today, the nation is shattered into tribes based on geography, ethnicity, cultural values, sexual preferences and political philosophy. The symbols and practices that once reflected the bond of unity — even with different viewpoints on policy and politics — are no longer held in common. The division is seen in the disrespect for the National Anthem … elimination of the Pledge of Allegiance as a common practice … the introduction of the so-called black national anthem as a tribal alternative … and the ability to breech the American borders at will and receive “sanctuary” from specific political “tribes” – mostly big city Democrats.
In a previously united America, citizenship conveyed rights and privileges. Today, those rights and privileges have been eroded because they are no longer exclusive. The common bond of citizenship is on the verge of being shattered beyond mend.
One of the most basic and important rights conveyed on American citizens is the right to elect our leaders. It is often called a “sacred right.” Every freedom we value — every right articulated in the Constitution – depends on the right to vote – the right to elect our leaders. It has long been the fundamental mark of citizenship. But that, too, is eroding.
New York City has now joined other urban communities that will extend voting rights to non-citizens – thereby further cheapening and weakening the meaning of citizenship. It is the newly favored legislation of the Democrat political machines in our major cities – many of the same folks who brought us Sanctuary Cities and open borders in defiance of federal laws governing immigration.
Despite the high-minded rhetoric, the true purpose of these laws is to enhance the authoritarian one-party political power of the Democrat urban machines. As with their open border policies, Democrats assume that those newly enfranchised will add to the Democrat vote. Personally, I think they may get well deserved surprise.
The laws are designed to deal with those who are mostly legal “residents” – permanent status, H1b workers and DACA dreamers. I suppose one should be grateful that they are not allowing those here illegally to vote. But even that is being embraced in some quarters.
The basic argument advanced for the new laws is that these folks work in America … have kids in American schools … and pay taxes in America. To which I say, “So what?” None of that represents good reasons to grant voting rights. Those are economic issues. You work here, you pay taxes … period. There is no automatic concomitant right to vote.
And if any of the folks being granted voting rights wanted to vote, they could do what millions of others have done – become citizens and pledge their allegiance to America. But that is the problem, the left does not want a population that pledges its allegiance to a common political culture. No e pluribus unum for them. They politically thrive on the manipulation of tribes.
The taxes non-citizens pay is the appropriate result of the privilege we have granted them to reside and work in America. It is a tradeoff. If a person does not want to become a citizen but wants a job in America … okay. They earn money here and pay taxes here. That has nothing to do with loyalty or allegiance to the nation.
Some argue that non-citizens – even illegal aliens – should have a right to vote in school board elections since they may have children in the school systems. It would seem that providing non-citizens – and especially illegal aliens – the privilege of a free public education is sufficient benefit on to itself. There is no rational reason why the sacred right to vote should be an add-on.
I am a great fan of legal immigration. It is part of the American character – and the reason our nation has grown and prospered. But I do believe that it is citizenship that bestows the rights and guarantees inscribed in the Constitution to we the people – the citizens of America.
So, there ‘tis.