There are many Americans who don’t think of the US as a land born of genocide and suckled on slavery and cradled in manifest destiny, all the while declaring itself to be the greatest thing to happen to mankind since the Code of Hammurabi.
In the family of nations, America is a child, more accurately an infant.
As a fine piece I lost the link to mentioned, much of the ills of the world today are merely unpleasant side effects of the blip that consists of the economic preeminence of Europe these last few centuries.
Is the United States a nation at all? In the sense that it declares itself to be so, and thereby becomes one according to the institutions and constructs of its own design, sure.
But it is a nation in the same sense as Kurdistan? Iran? China? Egypt?
The demographic changes that are underway now may lay the foundations of making it one; the popular Amanda Pepperidge concept of the US’s “founding,” of MinuteMen and pilgrim feet will, in centuries to come, rate closer to a Leif Erickson size paragraph in the history books, while the current labor pains of desperate desert crossings and perilous sea voyages in nonstandard vessels, the ghadi made sari made poncho by women who pat out naan and tortillas and injera and fill them with whatever their neighbor’s mother taught in a land they never heard of, brave men whose unshakable recognition that there is not and never shall be any real difference between “in” and “on” raise the poor patchwork soup of leftovers called English to a new place of dignity that at last brings the rules of its pronunciation into a blessed harmony with its phonetic chaos: who is to say that “th” cannot be pronounced as “s” if the speaker pleases, in an alleged language in which “gh” is usually silent?
The Founding Fathers are at this moment hard at work hanging sheet rock, suppressing a smile at the funny people who do not even know how to find their way home without a sign with writing on it, who do not even know that they who now hang the sheet rock were Americans with written languages and poets and astromomers long before the funny people used tools.
The process of reclaiming the continent has begun. And yes, it is one continent.
The Founding Fathers and Founding Mothers come in twos and twelves and sometimes dozens, however they can, from other parts of the continent, from all other continents. They come for those they leave behind, but they also come to build a nation, a nation built from fringes, that roofs and landscapes and manicures and woks its way into the center, replacing what cannot hold with something permanent.
They come to slowly, inexorably make the lie into reality, tap tapping with hammers forged in ancient fires to homeimprove the facade, a foundation, walls, sides, a roof.
No law, no migra, no fence can stop them, no draconian regimes, no war can impede them, no amount of parental angst can prevent your children from marrying them.
It was remarkably clever of Mr Jefferson to pen his own remake of the Great Law of the Iroquois, and it is remarkably courageous of the Founders to apply themselves to the task of wresting it from the slimy maw of exploitation in a capitalism T shirt and install it firmly in the temple of Hope.
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!