Melting Pot and Becoming a Good American
From The American Way by Mark Fennell
Let us repeat basic truths of America #3 and #4...
Basic Truth #3: There is a distinct American culture.
Honesty, trust, courtesy, and compassion do matter. These are integral parts of the American fabric. We have a system of laws and justice, with checks and balances, and administered by the people. We are a nation founded on ideals, a vision based upon morals. We are the true Land of Brotherhood, because Americans know that we must have consideration, kindness, and positive relationships with our neighbors.
Basic Truth #4: Out of Many, One
My ancestors may have come from a dozen nations, but I am 100% American.
If you live in America then you must live the American Way
Whether you were born here or came here from another country, if you choose to live in the United States you must live by the American Way. There is no variation on this point.
America allows many lifestyles, yet these must fit into the basic lifestyle of the American Way. The range of acceptable lifestyles is very broad. In fact, no other country in the world allows as many lifestyles as America. However, there are limits.
The American Way includes everything described in this book. That is one reason why I wrote the book - to state clearly what the American way is, and what it is not.
America as a Melting Pot
America works because immigrants who come to America adopt America's principles and cultures.
We have the concept known as the melting pot. People from all cultures and from all countries come to America. They assimilate into America by adopting the American Way. Those things that are not necessarily part of the American Way can be left up to the individuals. It is in this way that America preserves it's culture, and yet, at the same time, gains contributions from different people.
For hundreds of years immigrants would come to this country and assimilate into America. They would learn English. They would send their children to the schools - free and open to all people. Many of these immigrants prospered much better here than they ever could back in their original country. These immigrants and their descendents would always be proud to call themselves American.
Our coins read "E Pluribus Unum." This phrase means "From Many - One." From many states, we have one nation. From many cultures, we have one culture. From many peoples we have one people.
Americans have chosen to marry people equal to themselves (as all Americans are equal) but of different backgrounds. There are no "pure" races anymore. Ethnicity in America is a delightful blend of everything, mixed and mixed until all the boundaries have long disappeared. There is only one ethnicity in America today: we call it "American."
"American" is a heritage
Just as Asians have a history and culture, just as Hispanics have a history and culture, so Americans have a history and culture.
Yet, America is unique because we are the only nation to found itself entirely on ideas. Our heritage is defined by philosophical principles, on moral codes, and on behavior. Our heritage is not defined by race, lineage, or geography, as is the case for much of the world. That alone makes the United States unique.
Thus, the American heritage - that is, the American Way - must be preserved. All people are welcome to join us, yet you are obligated to accept American principles. If you do join us, then you must assimilate into American society. You must support the American Way and preserve our heritage.
No room for hyphenated Americans in this country
There is no room for hyphenated Americans in this country. You are either an American, or you're not. If you were born here, you are an American. If you are a citizen, you are an American.
All of us, at one point on our family history, came here from a different country. So, in one sense, each of us could call ourselves "German-American", "Irish-Americans", "Italian-Americans" and so forth. Yet this is not only cumbersome, it is ridiculous. America was never about dividing itself into groups, but rather by being an American first and foremost.
Furthermore, due to such marrying of other Americans over hundreds of years, ethnicity is entirely meaningless. If we were to really state our ethnicity in hyphenated form, it would look something like this: "I am an Irish-Italian-German-Cherokee-Chinese American." This is both cumbersome, and ridiculous. In reality, we are all "mixed race." We are all Americans.