Copyright Ó 2006 by Rodney G. Graves, all rights reserved.
AmericanismRecent events have given me cause to ponder.
What Does it Mean to be an American?
Being an American is more than an accident of birth. More than a few who were born within the territorial limits of the United States of America, and who are citizens in the eyes of the law, frankly are not Americans. The fault, and it is indeed a grave fault, is entirely their own.
Americans are self selected.
Americans, or their ancestors, chose to come here. More importantly, Americans choose to identify ourselves as "Americans." Just that, and no more.
Theodore Roosevelt famously and brilliantly stated that:
There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all. This is just as true of the man who puts "native" before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance. But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.
Truer words were never spoken.
Expanded from a piece originally posted on Baen's Bar