Your view of america essay

This is a Western mirage, reality-as-wish; closer examination always reveals the ethnic core of civic nations, in practice, even in immigrant societies with their early pioneering and dominant English and Spanish culture in America, Australia, or Argentina, a culture that provided the myths and language of the would-be nation. This blurring of the civic-ethnic distinction is reflected throughout U. Why, then, if all national cultures have ethnic cores, should those outside this core embrace the national culture? Miller acknowledges that national cultures have typically been formed around the ethnic group that is dominant in a particular territory and therefore bear "the hallmarks of that group: language, religion, cultural identity.

The major difficulty here is that national cultures are not typically the product of collective deliberation in which all have the opportunity to participate. The challenge is to ensure that historically marginalized groups, as well as new groups of immigrants, have genuine opportunities to contribute "on an equal footing" to shaping the national culture.

Without such opportunities, liberal nationalism collapses into conservative nationalism of the kind defended by Samuel Huntington. He calls for immigrants to assimilate into America's "Anglo- Protestant culture. Cultural nationalist visions of solidarity would lend support to immigration and immigrant policies that give weight to linguistic and ethnic preferences and impose special requirements on individuals from groups deemed to be outside the nation's "core culture.

They were treated not as immigrants but "resettlers" Aussiedler who acted on their constitutional right to return to their country of origin. In contrast, non-ethnically German guestworkers Gastarbeiter were designated as "aliens" Auslander under the German Alien Law and excluded from German citizenship. The language requirement in contemporary naturalization policies in the West is the leading remaining example of a cultural nationalist integration policy; it reflects not only a concern with the economic and political integration of immigrants but also a nationalist concern with preserving a distinctive national culture.

Constitutional patriotism and liberal nationalism are accounts of civic solidarity that deal with what one might call first-level diversity. Individuals have different group identities and hold divergent moral and religious outlooks, yet they are expected to share the same idea of what it means to be American: either patriots committed to the same set of ideals or co-nationals sharing the relevant cultural attributes. Charles Taylor suggests an alternative approach, the idea of "deep diversity.

Taylor introduces the idea of deep diversity in the context of discussing what it means to be Canadian:. Someone of, say, Italian extraction in Toronto or Ukrainian extraction in Edmonton might indeed feel Canadian as a bearer of individual rights in a multicultural mosaic. Civic solidarity or political identity is not "defined according to a concrete content," but, rather, "by the fact that everybody is attached to that identity in his or her own fashion, that everybody wants to continue that history and proposes to make that community progress.

In our world, membership in a political community provides goods we cannot do without; this, above all, may be the source of our desire for political community.

Even though Taylor contrasts Canada with the United States, accepting the myth of America as a nation of immigrants, the United States also has a need for acknowledgment of diverse modes of belonging based on the distinctive histories of different groups. Native Americans, African Americans, Irish Americans, Vietnamese Americans, and Mexican Americans: across these communities of people, we can find not only distinctive group identities, but also distinctive ways of belonging to the political community.

Deep diversity is not a recapitulation of the idea of cultural pluralism first developed in the United States by Horace Kallen, who argued for assimilation "in matters economic and political" and preservation of differences "in cultural consciousness. The ethnic-political distinction maps onto a private-public dichotomy; the two spheres are to be kept separate, such that Irish Americans, for example, are culturally Irish and politically American. In contrast, the idea of deep diversity recognizes that Irish Americans are culturally Irish American and politically Irish American.

As Michael Walzer put it in his discussion of American identity almost twenty years ago, the culture of hyphenated Americans has been shaped by American culture, and their politics is significantly ethnic in style and substance. While attractive for its inclusiveness, the deep diversity model may be too thin a basis for civic solidarity in a democratic society.

Can there be civic solidarity without citizens already sharing a set of values or a culture in the first place? In writing elsewhere about how different groups within democracy might "share identity space," Taylor himself suggests that the "basic principles of republican constitutions — democracy itself and human rights, among them" constitute a "non-negotiable" minimum.

Yet, what distinguishes Taylor's deep diversity model of solidarity from Habermas's constitutional patriotism is the recognition that "historic identities cannot be just abstracted from.


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What matters is not so much the content of solidarity, but the ethos generated by making the effort at mutual understanding and respect. Canada's approach to the integration of immigrants may be the closest thing there is to "deep diversity. Through its official multiculturalism policies, Canada expresses a commitment to the value of diversity among immigrant communities through funding for ethnic associations and supporting heritage language schools.

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Multicultural accommodations actually provide the conditions under which immigrant integration might genuinely become a two-way process. Such policies send a strong message that immigrants are a welcome part of the political community and should play an active role in shaping its future evolution.

The question of solidarity may not be the most urgent task Americans face today; war and economic crisis loom larger.


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But the question of solidarity remains important in the face of ongoing large-scale immigration and its effects on intergroup relations, which in turn affect our ability to deal with issues of economic inequality and democracy. I hope to have shown that patriotism is not easily separated from nationalism, that nationalism needs to be evaluated in light of shared principles, and that respect for deep diversity presupposes a commitment to some shared values, including perhaps diversity itself.

Rather than viewing the three models of civic solidarity I have discussed as mutually exclusive — as the proponents of each sometimes seem to suggest — we should think about how they might be made to work together with each model tempering the excesses of the others. What is now formally required of immigrants seeking to become American citizens most clearly reflects the first two models of solidarity: professed allegiance to the principles of the Constitution constitutional patriotism and adoption of a shared culture by demonstrating the ability to read, write, and speak English liberal nationalism.

The revised citizenship test makes gestures toward respect for first-level diversity and inclusion of historically marginalized groups with questions such as, "Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?

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Anthony do? A more inclusive American solidarity requires the recognition not only of the fact that Americans are a diverse people, but also that they have distinctive ways of belonging to America.

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Oxford University Press, , pp. What is not so obvious is the nature of that relationship. Until recently, most observers were willing to settle for an accurate but inelegant description: that the countries are neither friends nor foes. At first glance, this designation seems reasonable. The United States and China are clearly not allies. They share no overriding security interests or political values, and their conceptions of world order fundamentally clash.

Whereas Beijing looks forward to a post-American, multipolar world, Washington is trying to preserve the liberal order it leads even as its relative power wanes. Meanwhile, numerous issues in East Asia, such as tensions over Taiwan and disputes between Beijing and Tokyo, are causing U. Yet the two countries are not really adversaries, either. They do not see each other as implacable ideological or security threats.

Essay On America: Facts. Freedom. Dreams

If Lincoln played the race card, then Douglas played the whole deck. But what is actually remarkable is the degree to which Lincoln defended the natural rights of black people. White Illinoisans at the time did not even allow blacks to move to their state. Lincoln therefore could not even begin to discuss granting them civil or political rights.

Instead, he reminded his white audience of their own rights, grounded in nature and enumerated in the Declaration of Independence. He then had the courage in an election year to insist that these were the same rights that black people possess as well. Sandford , wherein he lambasted Chief Justice Roger Taney for reading black people out of the Declaration of Independence. But for Lincoln, whose words and deeds remain the gold standard for American rhetoric and policy, the United States would have quickly veered from the country that the founders set into motion.

Simply persuade white northerners not to care what happens to folks who do not look like them, and therefore Congress should not prevent the spread of black slavery into the territories.

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Once that happened, Lincoln thought the nationalization of slavery would occur in short order through a second Dred Scott case, which would affirm the enslavement of blacks as a constitutional right despite any state law or constitution to the contrary. This, of course, required an appeal to a sympathetic white majority. Let American history provide the lesson. If the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments had required a black majority to pass Congress, how secure would the rights of black Americans be?

How much progress would the nation have made if color and not citizenship, race and not humanity, characterized the political practice of America? Surely the United States advanced on this front because the principle of equality won over more and more Americans—most of whom were white.

In , there were no black justices on the Supreme Court that decided Brown v. Board of Education. In , there were no black senators when the Civil Rights Act was passed.

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