"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
in a letter to the president
of the American Defense Society
January 3, 1919
A comment on my Stagecoach post by Carteach0 got me thinking. Thinking on the meaning and differences between being a citizen and being a resident.
A quick browse through my dictionary and a few online ones showed me something. On the surface they both mean living somewhere. Both the following definitions below are from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (because I like copy/paste verses having to type them out).
- an inhabitant of a city or town; especially : one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman
- a: a member of a state
b: a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it
- a civilian as distinguished from a specialized servant of the state
- a: living in a place for some length of time : residing
b: serving in a regular or full-time capacity; also : being in residence
- present, inherent
- not migratory
Have we become a nation of residents? We seem to have a growing entitlement mentality, but no corresponding allegiance to support it. One thing I notice living abroad for several years was we americans were the only country that identified ourselves by another country. The Scots were scottish, Welsh were welsh, French were french, etc. We, on the other hand are German-American, or Arab-American, or... Well, you get my meaning.
Maybe we should be calling ourselves American.But I digress.
People, for some reason, want to enjoy the benefits of citizenship, but not be subject to the allegiance. Can there be citizen-residents? I'd think that there can't be. Someone might say that it's a redundancy, but I'd say they are an oxymoron, mutually exclusive terms. You can't be both. And I'd go further to say that when you identify yourself as an hyphenated american you're trying to do just that. I'm not saying that you should lose or deny your heritage, but ask yourself this. Are you exalting your heritage to the exclusion of being an American? Is your pride in heritage stopping you from doing any sort of assimilation into America? Ultimately, are you proud or ashamed to be living here?
Remember for every benefit you take from citizenship, someone had to pay something in to provide for that. It may have been a grandparent on the beaches of Europe, or a parent working in an election campaign office, or a brother or sister over in the sands of the middle east. It could be something as massive as laying down your life to protect someone from a criminal or something as simple as just holding down a job.
If you think the world, the government, or someone "owes you a living" ask yourself what you've done to earn it.