A Nation of Immigrants?

A Nation of Immigrants?

From mansizedtarget.wordpress.com

New Blogger Jonathan at Commissar Class makes a good point in an elegant way:

America is not a “nation of immigrants,” nor can any nation be. Immigrants can’t comprise nations for the same reason pledges can’t constitute frats or that job applicants can’t constitute workplaces — societies are comprised of their members, not of those who simply want to be members.

This is no slight to our ancestors who immigrated. They stopped immigrating – that is, journeying in pursuit of belonging in a nation — for a reason the “nation of immigrants” myth makes us forget: because they obtained what they were after.

Our ancestors did want to remain on the boat that brought them, nor did they want to be typecast as mascots in sepia-toned, tear-jerking images of Ellis Island, which always accompany the myth-makers’ melodramatic intonations as to what America is. The wanted to graduate from the status of those who simply want to belong to this nation, and to that of those who have earned that right.

They succeeded. But the myth won’t admit this — it keeps our forebears trapped in the past, on a crowded boat, forever wandering.

 

Locust: here is the whole post; from http://commissarclass.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/america-is-not-a-nation-of-immigrants/

America is not a “nation of immigrants”

September 13, 2011 by Jonathan S

America is not a “nation of immigrants,” nor can any nation be. Immigrants can’t comprise nations for the same reason pledges can’t constitute frats or that job applicants can’t constitute workplaces — societies are comprised of their members, not of those who simply want to be members.

This is no slight to our ancestors who immigrated. They stopped immigrating – that is, journeying in pursuit of belonging in a nation — for a reason the “nation of immigrants” myth makes us forget: because they obtained what they were after.

Our ancestors did want to remain on the boat that brought them, nor did they want to be typecast as mascots in sepia-toned, tear-jerking images of Ellis Island, which always accompany the myth-makers’ melodramatic intonations as to what America is. The wanted to graduate from the status of those who simply want to belong to this nation, and to that of those who have earned that right.

They succeeded. But the myth won’t admit this — it keeps our forebears trapped in the past, on a crowded boat, forever wandering.

The “nation of immigrants” myth thus diminishes both our ancestors and our nation. It says our forebears who became Americans are still on the outside looking in, and it reduces our homeland to an oxymoron — an organization of outsiders.

The myth is worse than an act of disrespect, however. It is also one of subversion.

If a nation can be comprised of non-members, than membership has no meaning. One of membership’s benefits is ownership of the organization, but if anyone can join, then no one has a greater claim on the society than anyone else, including its rightful owners.

A nation’s only rightful owners are its citizens. Everyone else is either an outsider, or, if on the inside, a mere guest or trespasser. The myth’s disseminators are desperate that we forget these truths, because the American who remembers them will think and act like the owner of a literal house.

He will be no more persuaded that he owes his nation to an immigrant than that he owes his house to the homeless guy across the block. Abuse of nostalgia won’t work on him either — he understands that his grandfather’s one-time status as a non-member doesn’t mean that membership must be given to everyone who wants it.

The American who knows he owns his country is a threat because he will insist on his rights without apology or qualification. He is formidable foe because will see with clear eyes where his interests lie, and where they conflict with those whose entrance into America will come at his expense. In sum, he will prove a difficult victim, as those armed with essential truths always are.

The mythmakers don’t lie to us for the enjoyment of empty semantics. They tell us we don’t own our nation so that they can more easily take it from us.

The most dedicated propagators are either satisfied or overjoyed at the influx of at least 800,000 legal newcomers each year, and the minimum 200,000 invaders streaming in annually, but they also know that these trends are highly unpopular, if so far only feebly resisted, by the American public. So they extend what appears to many well-meaning Americans an olive branch in the form of the myth. In not so many words, they soothingly pronounce, “We may have our differences, but surely we can agree, that America is a nation of immigrants.”

This is no concession. This is no peace offering or step towards a meeting in the middle. It is a pernicious lie about our courageous ancestors, and about us. It establishes a false morality which denies citizens the most fundamental rights of belonging. It is a knife in the back and it will continue to injure us as long as we don’t recognize it as such.

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