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We are Americans, first and foremost

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

  • May we each recommit to de-escalating the national tenor that distorts our shades of difference and reject the factions that seek disunity this Independence Day.

In his farewell address, the first President of the United States warned against certain dangers that threatened to destroy our Union and our unity. To safeguard the nation and its people, George Washington implored the nation to remember the “common dangers, sufferings, and successes” they shared.

“Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.”

Washington knew regionalism or adding qualifying distinctions, such as parties – often referred to as factionalism – rather than simply viewing ourselves and our fellow man as Americans would harm the republican government he and his countrymen had valiantly fought to establish.

The reluctant leader cautioned Americans against allowing attachments to geographical or ideological factions to divide them, saying, “…designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views.”

“It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”

Washington’s fears have been realized today. To far too many, it is no longer enough to be an American, united under one flag with one national identity. Now, it’s commonplace, expected even, to add descriptors or qualifiers, whether it be a party label or some other self-identifier that incites passions.

Republican. Democrat. Black. African. White. European. Mexican. Heterosexual. LGBTQ. Christian. Muslim. Jewish. Southern. Northern. Liberal. Conservative. The list is infinite.

This Independence Day, dissent. Reject the political correctness that raises “false alarms” and fosters “ill-founded jealousies” that open the door to corruption and division in our communities, within the halls of Congress and in our public discourse.

We are Americans.

Whatever our ancestry, ethnicity or regional differences, out of many, we in America are one.

No qualifier or adjective is necessary, that is unless we seek disunity with our fellow countrymen out of selfish ambition or misplaced affections. Thus, refuse to entertain such influences for the sake of this our beloved nation – a nation that has provided those we cherish with life-giving liberty to think, speak and live, and in that liberty, hope.

How our forefathers came to this land, whether of their own volition or by the hand of another, is of no true consequence in this present age. Plaguing minds with such trials, judging the events of yesterday through the whimsical lens of today, errantly fails to credit America’s unique arc towards fulfilling its founding principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence. Such inflated self-importance does a disservice to the past as well as the present condition the nation now enjoys, thanks to the sacrifice and service of generations of patriots.

My first allegiance is and always must be to Christ, whose grace was freely given, with the second being to the protection and prosperity of my family – both of which being an American affords, making my allegiance to this nation paramount and sacred. If not for America, my faith and my family would not be secure in this world. I’d argue the same is true for yours.

Our calling, our responsibility today is to those we love – our family and fellow man – in this nation we are blessed to inherit, to be the best citizen in this day and time for the sake of posterity under the watchful eyes of the Creator. In doing so, we strive to carefully guard and preserve this Union in our own corners of these United States as we are tasked, being ever mindful of the ties which link us together as one people.

As Washington so keenly noted, we as Americans must “properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety;” while “discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned.”

May we each recommit to de-escalating the national tenor that distorts our shades of difference, reject the factions that seek disunity, and seek to be Americans first and foremost, never forgetting our common cause of liberty.

So, roast a weenie, pop a top, and watch joyfully with your neighbors as thousands of your tax dollars explode in the night sky over your hometown.

We live in the greatest nation the world has ever seen. It’s worth celebrating every day, not just on July 4th.

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

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