• J Putnam

Identity is Everything

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

Often we see the comparison of our ancestors' morals and way of life compared to that of today. Our heroes of the past are now often demonized for violating current and modern values that, in their own time, were seen as normal and ordinary.

This same fallacy applies to ideals once held to be great in the past. In the American Revolution, Americans were a ragtag band of misfits seeking to break free from the chains of an empire that behaved very much the same as America does today.

Americans then were more a tribe than a nation. It wasn’t all that difficult to get them all to band together behind a common cause save for a few loyalists who retained their loyalties to their empirical masters and the security that came with resisting any change to the status quo.

Today America is among the ranks of the largest nations on the planet. The ideals of the tribe have all but vanished in a cloud of universal inclusion.

America is now to the tribe as Christianity is to an ancient religion known only to the people born into it. In ancient times to be of a certain faith meant that you were geographically and ethnically born into.

Most religions were exclusive to certain people while being exclusionary to everyone else. This changed with the introduction of Christianity.

To become a Christian, one needs only to profess his or her allegiance to the Christian God, say a prayer, and be baptized. The barrier to entry is pretty low. This is similar to the requirements needed to become an American citizen.

Despite immigration laws, borders, and walls, becoming an American is relatively easy as one only has to study for an exam, say the pledge of allegiance, and sign a few documents to be considered a citizen and be afforded the privileges and perks that come with it.

While a noble idea, the ease of becoming an American has worked against the original idea behind it.

I can’t say for certain whether our founding fathers lacked foresight or an understanding of human nature. Still, over the past nearly 250 years since its birth, America has welcomed everyone from everywhere regardless of culture and values, simply expecting them to assimilate to the way of life here.

Again this is a noble idea but foolhardy when you neglect the harsh reality of the nature of people in general.

Identity is everything to a man, and that identity must be meaningful and tangible.

The broad interpretation of being an American no longer means what it did when that group of brave men gathered together in secret to draft and sign The Declaration of Independence. American identity has now been morphed into that of the Iroquois, a confederation of Native American tribes that joined together to create a new and much larger tribe.

But even they eventually fell to the differences that were imported into their new nation.

So with this in mind, ask yourself.

Who are you?

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