North Texas Daily

American identity, human identity

American identity, human identity

American identity, human identity
January 31
14:17 2017

Nate Jackson | Staff Writer

Why do we value our identities as left or right, liberal or conservative, blue or red, over our shared identity as Americans, or, more significantly, our singularity as human beings?

In all likelihood, there are a plethora of theories and scientific complexes that could lend us insight into all of our humanistic tendencies in that regard. But considering all of the controversy coming from the White House and the media, which has betrothed every single one of us somehow, it’s important to unpack this question and substantiate it with American history.

Before the birth of America as we know it, we had some very polarizing and wise men in leadership, specifically George Washington. He was the commander-in-chief of the continental army during the American Revolutionary War. He also, reluctantly, served two terms as the first U.S. president.

In his farewell address, Washington dispatched his concern of political parties: “Political parties may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

The hypothetical situation Washington warned us to pay heed to is currently characterizing politics as we know it, and has impeded our ability to progress as a country in numerous ways.

We began this country opposed to the concept of a political party. The leaders of our revolution despised the idea. They knew it would lead to political anguish. Alexander Hamilton deemed them “a vice to be guarded against at all times.”

Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third U.S. president, stated, “If I could not go to heaven without a party, I would not go there at all.” So with all of these Founding Fathers and their antagonistic views towards political parties, how did we end up with them anyway?

It commenced with some leaders who wanted a strong central government. Those administrators coincided and formed the Federalist Party, which was the first political party in the United States. The opposing party were the Anti-Federalists, who wanted the government to leave them alone and sought more local and state power.

In my opinion, once we pitted ourselves against each other, we embarked down a road in which there was no return. Men went to war and killed their brothers because of what side of the Mason-Dixon line they resided on.

In 1929, one of the biggest financial crises in the world occurred – the Great Depression – and at the root of it all were the Republican and Democratic parties. This opposition regarded whether or not the federal government should render aid. These political parties are self-perpetuating and have shown to be instruments of division, instead of agents for growth.

Americans, in my opinion, have always been a very principled people. The pilgrims, and immigrants thereafter, came here seeking freedom from oppressive governments, freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom to create and freedom to worship. Those are very virtuous statutes to pursue.

With all of the noise and fake social activism, we have fallen away from our original ideologies and all for the privilege to be deemed “right.” All too often, we focus on what makes us different. I’m black, he’s white, she’s Muslim, he’s Christian.

Instead, we should focus on what brings us together. He’s someone’s brother, she’s someone’s sister, I’m someone’s child. We’re all human, and at our core, we’re all in pursuit of belonging. We should never let a political machine or national situation hamper our ability to recognize each other’s kinship as human beings.

Featured Illustration: Antonio Mercado

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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