As a father, a husband, a former soldier and an American, this brings a tear to my eye.
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” - Lincoln
As an American I feel we are bound not by our failures of past morality, but are need to fix the. I wish everyone understood this.
What me and my family talked about today is that, as immigrants, we are so sad how much the "native born" people of the US hate their own country. They seem to never waste an opportunity to remind others of their disdain and it is more and more visible these days e.g. in big news media or on Twitter.
Yeah, and so many people of color came to the US with a suite case and less than $1000 dollars, and then became a successful person in a few years. I certainly did. My wife certainly did. My team, my gardener, and my contractor certainly did. Some people who are from the same school as I went to have even become CEOs of big companies, and some have become famous professors or head of prestigious universities. If anything, I got help from people of all colors, and particularly from a great system that generations of people in the US have built.
Is the US perfect? Of course not! But everything in the US is worth hating? You gotta be out of your mind. Is the history of the US perfect? Of course not! That's why it's history! Human learn. Human improve. Human societies evolve from centuries of violence, prejudice, or pure cruelty. If we cancel them, we won't have a history.
In the meantime, the poorest 20% of the US population is probably better than 80% of the population in the world, and this is not great? The protestors can afford protesting full time for weeks, and this is not great? We have NBA who have more than 70% of black athletes. We idolize them. They make millions of a year. And this is not great? A long list of Hollywood stars are black and we love them and LinkedIn is full of Will Smith's inspirational interview, and this is not great? We have a black president in a white-majority country, and this is not great? We have black mayors, council members, senators, congressman and congress woman, and this is not great?
If we look at the US history, we have Charles Drew, we have Rebecca Lee Crumpler, we have Daniel Hale Williams, we have Marie M. Daly, we have Alice Augusta Ball, we have Katherine Johnson, we ave Dorothy Vaughaun, we have Christine Darden. The list can go on. Are they not great?
And if we follow the logic of cancel culture, we should cancel Rome, cancel Greece, cancel renaissance, cancel all religions, cancel Europe, cancel China, cancel India, cancel Africa. They all had their share of slavery, for centuries. They all had their share of atrocity, again for centuries. Then what's left? What's the point? And should we cancel our childhood? Should we cancel ourselves? Most of us, after all, did something stupid or horrible when we were young. Should our parents cancel us?
Focusing on the "cancel culture" is, IMHO, putting the cart in front of the horse. It is a by-product of a society where a cop can murder an African American in broad daylight and (in most cases) suffer no consequences. If you can't trust the society to not murder you, why would you refrain from tearing down anything you don't like?
When the society doesn't serve justice, people will implement "justice" with their own hands, with often bloody consequences. Thousands lost their heads during the French revolution: I'm sure many of them didn't deserve it. People died and lost their homes during the American Revolution, and during the Civil War: I'm sure many of them didn't deserve it, either.
I'm no big fan of the so-called "cancel culture", but justice is the only way I see that can rein it in.
The probability for a black person of being killed by the police in the US is approximately 0.0005%. That's the probability of being killed (most commonly because you pulled a weapon on a cop), not the probability of being murdered, which is at least an order of magnitude lower than that.
There shouldn't be anybody getting murdered by the police. It's totally unreasonable. But it is in actual fact extremely uncommon.
It might be worth considering that murdered-on-tape-in-broad-daylight is at the extreme end of the spectrum of violence - both direct and indirect - that minorities experience throughout their lives. Otherwise you might end up with the belief that a black person's experience of the USA is only 0.0005% different to that of a white one's.
It seems to me that's what's happening in this thread is privileged people with no experience of systemic racism telling Filipino veterans how they ought to feel about the country they fought for. The people with the concrete experience are speaking, and HN commenters are telling them they're bad and wrong and should be more mad. Seems strange, in light of the prevalence of the word 'listen' of late.
It seems to me that the thrust of this sub-thread is a debate over narratives. One narrative is "America is basically good, but it has serious problems, and we're working on fixing them". Another narrative is "America is basically bad, we should burn it to the ground and start over". Neither of these narratives are right or wrong, because all narratives are false. But I think one of them is more useful than the other.
Oh, OK - I misspoke. It was the sub-subthread that started off cherrypicking statistics.
But if we're going to be pedantic it's worth noting that tearing down the things that you don't like is selective whereas burning everything to the ground is much more indiscriminate and there's a big difference there.
To put it another way, calling for the razing of America is totally unreasonable. But such calls are in actual fact extremely uncommon.
Using statistics directly responsive to the claim is cherrypicking?
It seems like your issue is with the claim, not the statistics. Being murdered by the police is not a central example of the problems of black people and holding it up as such will only cause people to address what you claim is the problem rather than what the actual problems are.
> But if we're going to be pedantic it's worth noting that tearing down the things that you don't like is selective whereas burning everything to the ground is much more indiscriminate and there's a big difference there.
When "things you don't like" consists of the likes of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, that's pretty hard to distinguish from burning the American system to the ground.
That's your conception of your country? I'm sorry to have to break this to you, but they're all dead now. All of the slave owners and all of the slaves are dead. Their children are dead. Their children's children are dead. It has been seven generations.
Or are we cherrypicking the past for things that mean something today as well?
> Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson is dead. Independence is not.
So, even though his children are dead and their children are dead, it's almost as if what he did in his life had ramifications through the ages and still shapes society today. I'd never considered that possibility. I wonder if there are other situations where that applies?
The point of his use of those statistics was to say that this phenomenon, while bad, is a small part of what the United States is. I didn't read it as minimizing the issue, as such. It's certainly one of the biggest issues we face today. And that's a great thing - that one of our biggest issues is such a small statistic. It certainly hasn't always been that way. Our biggest issues used to be much larger statistics. Slaves were more than half the population in some states. The point wasn't a dismissal of police violence as a non-issue, the point was that a reduction of the US to that fact is not a useful framing. Not for the victims, or for anyone else.
Nobody is saying "America is great shut up". America has very serious problems, both currently and historically. The point of this piece and the other commenters in this thread in defending America is not that we should ignore the problems. It's that we should work towards fixing them in a positive way, not a "fuck America" sort of way.
It's not "SHUT UP IT"S GREAT!" so much as pointing out specifically why the claim that it isn't great is wrong, to which the responses were a moving of the goalposts to some other, generic wrongs against black people that haven't actually been specified and so can't be addressed.
Patriotism is just as absurd as any other dogma to a person who doesn't share it. I think the US has done some great things as have most countries. It's when you start blindly believing it's perfect that it seems less than rational.
> generic wrongs against black people that haven't actually been specified
> It's when you start blindly believing it's perfect that it seems less than rational.
Who said it was perfect?
> Surely you don't need to hear the list again?
Is there somewhere they keep this list? I keep getting partial versions.
There's the ones where we list bad laws that haven't been on the books in many years, the ones (like police murders) that do literally happen but are dramatically less common than the level of attention would lead you to believe, the thing where people try to claim things with aggregate statistics without adjusting for confounders...
I'm sure there are some legitimate ones, what I can't understand is why the focus is regularly on all these ones that evaporate upon examination.
Maybe it's the toxoplasma thing, which I can't link to because SSC is gone. :(
So if you understand how historic injustice leads to present day disadvantage then there's no point distracting from the discussion by claiming to be bewildered by the fundamentals.
I agree that class distinctions are becoming less useful except if you define class in terms of opportunity in which case it's hard to argue that it and race live in two completely separate petri dishes.
The point is that, for largely existing political coalition reasons, people are trying to make a class problem be about race because it makes it align with the base of a particular political party. Police unions lean Republican, so Republicans have a political need to defend them, so if you can pit black people against the police then you can get them to vote the way you want without actually giving them anything. And then you don't have to worry about them getting together with poor white people to ask why housing costs so much and there isn't more economic opportunity for non-megacorps.
What’s the probability of being killed in a terrorist attack?
It happened a handful of times before in the US, then in 2001 reaction one attack spawned whole new agencies, onerous airport security changes, etc.—not to mention the longest running war in the country’s history. And for the most part, Americans were cheering about it.
Why is 9/11 revered as a national tragedy while ongoing murders by racist police are being downplayed?
Imagine a gang running your neighborhood that has a 0.0005% of murdering you (but if they do they'll get away with it) and an even "smaller* chance of protecting you from murder (don't forget that gangs exist for protection as much as power projection) , but is likely to beat, coerce and steal from you with total impunity.
The gang is well stocked with small arms, helicopters, tanks, missiles and even anti aircraft weapons.
They view you as threat to be pacifier although they're unlikely to murder you specifically.
> an even "smaller* chance of protecting you from murder
Considering how much murder is happening there already, I wouldn't guess that the amount there would be if the police stopped investigating them would be smaller than the existing rate of murders by police.
Also, as already mentioned, 0.0005% is the approximate rate at which the police kill black people, not the rate at which they murder them. What do you propose the cops do when someone draws a weapon on them?
> What's to be done with that gang?
You're talking about the local police, in black neighborhoods, in cities with Democrats already in elected office. They've been able to pass whatever changes they want this whole time, so what's stopping them?
Please don't assume that Democrats ever consider the best interests of "black neighborhoods". There's very little evidence that's the case. The most they can really claim is that they are often less overt in their racism than the other face of the status quo party.
> Please don't assume that Democrats ever consider the best interests of "black neighborhoods". There's very little evidence that's the case.
That's kind of my point. The black vote has gone disproportionately to Democrats for many years and what they get for it is not the change they're promised even when their party controls the government, it's lip service and rage propaganda like "police murders" which can't possibly be the most significant problem faced by black families, because it gets them to go out and vote for the same party again even as they don't fix the real problems -- because if they fixed the real problems they couldn't run on it again next time.
Why are cities burning over "police murders" and not the War on Drugs or school choice? Why are we de-funding the police and not de-funding the zoning board? A cynic could answer.
> The most they can really claim is that they are often less overt in their racism than the other face of the status quo party.
I think this is a trope. Democrats are desperate to paint Republicans as racists because they're so reliant on the black vote. Then we get many stories about "dog whistles" and comments taken out of context and maximally uncharitable interpretations of any linguistic ambiguity, meanwhile the biggest actual reason Republicans don't much court black people is that they don't vote for them regardless, because Democrats will spend all day telling everyone they're nothing but racists no matter what they do.
Republican President signs criminal justice reform into law and then a cop commits murder in a city controlled by Democrats and it's the Republicans who are down in the polls.
I don't care about dog whistles. I do care that many Republicans have gone to great lengths to prevent black people from voting. That they have dressed up their racist disenfranchisement efforts with concerns about nonexistent problems impresses me not at all.
Of course Democrats are also implicated in another source of disenfranchisement, inadequate facilities provisioning and maintenance. Even on that topic, Republicans are more to blame in e.g. Wisconsin.
We hear this all the time too, but then you look and the black voter turnout in any given election is the highest or second highest of any racial group. So if there is some widespread conspiracy to suppress the black vote it apparently isn't very effective.
It's also doesn't seem reasonable to characterize asking for ineligible voters to be removed from the rolls as voter suppression. There is a consistent narrative that voter fraud doesn't happen, as if that's a result of nobody having any incentive to do it instead of a result of groups constantly fighting against it, as though we could just stop taking any measures to try to prevent it and there still wouldn't be any.
If a demand to remove ineligible voters is also removing eligible voters then the problem is the people processing the request removing eligible voters, not the people making the request to remove ineligible voters.
They're also being incredibly disingenuous in claiming that proposed measures to detect voter fraud are unneeded because we haven't detected much voter fraud -- as if you can justify not replacing a bad smoke detector because it isn't detecting smoke.
I'm sure you believe what you've written here, but that belief comes from prejudice (or perhaps more accurately a shortage of empathy) not from a clear view of the present. You even admit in your last paragraph that we have little credible evidence of widespread vote fraud. In that context, with tens of thousands of people kicked off the voter rolls, concentrated in areas with higher minority populations, then of course the effects of these efforts are racist. Do we not need "smoke detectors" in white communities?
> You even admit in your last paragraph that we have little credible evidence of widespread vote fraud.
But then where is the credible evidence of widespread black voter suppression? Shouldn't it be resulting in lower black voter turnout if it was actually prevalent? By the numbers we have a bigger problem with Asian voter suppression.
> Do we not need "smoke detectors" in white communities?
So go demand that ineligible voters be removed from the rolls in white communities. That's not an unreasonable request. Let the Republicans do it in the places that vote for Democrats and the Democrats do it in the places that vote for Republicans.
Voting rights are absolute. If Alice has lost her ability to vote, it doesn't help her to learn that lots of people who look like her or live near her have turned out this year. Maybe she doesn't share her neighbors' politics. (If we even believe this "minorities vote more" proposition for which you've provided no evidence.) It is a fact (click through the links provided above) that lots of voters have been kicked off the rolls in minority-majority communities. That would suppress votes, even if everyone who remained on the rolls voted.
So go demand that ineligible voters be removed from the rolls in white communities. That's not an unreasonable request.
First, that is absolutely an unreasonable request. We lead busy lives; when are we going to improve law enforcement in e.g. Kansas? Second, here you've given up the game entirely. Since a universal concern for vote fraud would also include a concern for vote fraud in one's own community, which concern you admit you don't have, your goal is thus not to curb fraud but rather to suppress votes in communities other than your own. You've now agreed with every accusation I've made. QED.
And even that's underselling it because the black population is younger and, as you can see from the other graph on that page, younger populations vote less, so black voters are actually over-represented for their age groups.
> It is a fact (click through the links provided above) that lots of voters have been kicked off the rolls in minority-majority communities.
And so that's a problem. But the problem is election officials taking eligible voters off the rolls, not the request to remove ineligible voters.
> We lead busy lives
You don't do it personally, the Democratic party apparatus should do it.
> Since a universal concern for vote fraud would also include a concern for vote fraud in one's own community, which concern you admit you don't have, your goal is thus not to curb fraud but rather to suppress votes in communities other than your own.
You're missing the third option, which is that Republicans are concerned about actual voter fraud against Republicans. If a Democrat is registered in two districts because they moved and are still registered where they used to live, and then votes in both, Republicans have a legitimate interest in preventing that.
It's also voter fraud if a Republican does the same thing, but then it's the Democrats with a legitimate interest in preventing it. Which is why we have an adversarial court system. The interested parties each pursue their interests and that makes it harder for either of them to commit voter fraud.
Also notice how you wouldn't even expect to be able to detect this if nobody is ever reviewing the voter rolls. Bob votes twice because he's registered in two places and neither place sees it as an anomaly because he's a registered voter there.
You seem quite invested in the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Normal humans are not so invested. We don't care whether a particular face of the status quo party is elected; we just want our votes to lead to policies we support. This has been a rough year for that: during a health emergency Congress has given the rich trillions of dollars in nearly unanimous fashion but hasn't found a way to improve health care. One difference I see is that Republicans have built a national machine that has worked for decades to disenfranchise as many minorities as possible, and Democrats have only disenfranchised citizens through apathy and poor prioritization. Neither face of the status quo party owns my vote, and that may be why neither have any interest in policies that would appeal to me in any way. In any event, neither of them are going to "defend" my vote in the way you seem to imagine above. When only people who toe one of the two strikingly similar party lines are allowed to vote, we'll see even less innovation in government than we see now.
>Why are cities burning over "police murders" and not the War on Drugs or school choice?
Probably because it was the most visible and potent symbol of injustice.
If you're the underdog and you need some sympathy it's a little easier to get it by saying "please stop murdering me in my sleep when I've done nothing wrong" than "please stop putting me in jail just because I like to inject a bit of heroin".
In terms of your broader point, it's not like the two wings of the business party have ever represented the underdog.
Oh get off it. Out of all the dangers in the US, death by cop is extremely low. You're much more likely to be killed by a black person than a black person is to be killed by a cop. Let's keep perspective here.
Similarly, my wife's family came from an oppressive SE Asia country. One of them escaped on a boat and spent 3 years in a refugee camp in a country that refused to admit them. They eventually made it to the US and survived on nothing but the generosity of Americans.
They are now firmly upper-middle class and consider the US as truly the land of opportunity and are grateful they had the chance to come here.
When writing this, did you consider that most African Americans are descended from people who didn't get to bring a suitcase? That they were still fighting to be treated as equal citizens a century and a half after no longer being considered property?
And that the fact that they're over-represented in basketball doesn't mean that inequality is solved?
@edwardDiego there are sadly currently 9 million+ slaves in Africa and slavery and people trafficking is a huge trade worldwide today.
"According to the U.N.'s International Labor Organization (ILO), there are more than three times as many people in forced servitude today as were captured and sold during the 350-year span of the transatlantic slave trade", Time Magazine March 14, 2019.
The USA is a nation of immigrants. Look at the incredibly diverse people seeking a better life as they came through Ellis Island just over a century ago and where America is today.
Even though I feel black north american culture is foundational to the American experience, and a major reason why I emigrated from England to California, the current era of people speaking on behalf of 'BIPOC' people is mildly insulting to those people given the internal dialogs within that culture around who is helping and who is hurting. The reductionism of black and white (sic) simplistic thinking isn't helping anyone.
Note that you said descendants. They were not slaves, nor were their parents nor their grandparents. What remove does it take to get over it and stop acting like everyone owes you? Immigrants have come to America with nothing and having suffered unimaginable trauma (such as having had their entire family incinerated) and prospered.
Just because there exist immigrants who have fled their home country to find a better life in US doesn't invalidate the plight of other groups in the US right now: just look at the police brutality protests.
If your bare minimum is "at least your family didn't get incinerated so get over it", that's extremely heartless and cruel: the US can and should do better than such a low baseline.
Which policies or lack thereof specifically target the black people? We should definite fight to abolish them. Otherwise, wouldn’t it fair to say that the US legal system has flaws that every group may suffer, and therefore it’s really about law and order?
Just so I understand your framing: Do you consider the poll taxes and literacy requirements for voting of the Jim Crow era to have been policies that specifically targeted black people or not? They were written in a racially neutral way (and the 14th and 15th Amendments were in effect then, and they were ruled constitutional).
I think we have other policies today that are similar in effect - gerrymandered election districts and intentional poor placement / management of polling stations being the most obvious examples in my eyes.
Gerry-mandering is pretty race neutral, though. That isn't to say that districts are never carved along racial lines - they absolutely are. But plenty of districts are drawn to disenfranchise white voters, too.
It's hard to call gerrymandering "racist" when there isn't inherently any right way to draw district lines and then you consider the implications of what the opponents of existing districts call the "wrong" way.
The way gerrymandering works is that you start off with a town with 1000 black Democrats, 1000 white Democrats and 2000 white Republicans, and you have to draw four districts of a thousand people each.
If you put a random sampling of voters into each district then you get four districts evenly split between the parties but which are all white-majority. If the Republicans gerrymander the districts then they make one district which is 100% Democrats so that it creates three safe seats for the Republicans. If the Democrats gerrymander the districts then they do the opposite.
But which seems better for black people to you? The random sampling which causes the black votes to be spread across enough districts that they don't have a majority anywhere, or the gerrymandering that puts them all together and allows them to elect a representative which by the numbers they should have one of?
> intentional poor placement / management of polling stations
Black voter turnout was the highest of any racial group in one of the last three Presidential elections and was the second highest in the other two, so this doesn't appear to be having a major impact.
Despite, nit because of the way US elections work. Limited number of poling places, especially in poor neighborhoods, affecting people of colour more because of past zoning laws? Check. Elections held on workdays, making it harder for poorer people, again more often people of colour, to vote because they have to take a day of? Check. Mail in ballots being very hard to come by, see above? Check. An electoral college and a senate that gives more weight to votes from states with a higher percentage of whites? Check.
Compared to any other western style democracy, and the differences become clear.
And arguing gerrymandering, proven to benefit one party only at the disadvantage of people of colour, is actually a good thing, is just plain manipulative.
> Compared to any other western style democracy, and the differences become clear.
And yet still can't be seen to be having a major effect on black voter turnout, which implies that either the issues are not actually that common or the effect is inconsequential.
Also, this one is a blatant lie:
> An electoral college and a senate that gives more weight to votes from states with a higher percentage of whites?
The states with the highest percentage of black people are Mississippi and Louisiana. They're both over-represented in the electoral college. So are Maryland, South Carolina, Alabama, Delaware and Arkansas, which are all have a higher than the national average percentage of black people.
The states that get most screwed over by the electoral college are California and Texas. They both have below the national average percentage of black people. So are Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington, Arizona, Massachusetts and Indiana, which all have below the national average percentage of black people.
And most of the states that get screwed over and do have an above average percentage of black people are only barely above the average.
Exercise for the reader: Of the 17 states with less than proportionate representation as a result of the electoral college, which one has the highest percentage of black people, and which party are their Senators?
> And arguing gerrymandering, proven to benefit one party only at the disadvantage of people of colour, is actually a good thing, is just plain manipulative.
It benefits whichever party was in when they drew the most recent lines. You can hardly claim that's "racism" just because that was most recently the Republicans and the result was to elect fewer Democrats.
And you called it "manipulative" without actually explaining how it was wrong.
You're distorting what I said.
As regards these protests I believe that they will probably only make things worse. Black areas are where the most crime occurs so there is going to be more police activity in those areas. The protests encourage a feeling amount black people that the police are the enemy and that if you're stopped it's always only because you're black. On the police side this means that the typical interaction with a black person will be more difficult on average, leading to a perception on their side that black people are trouble. Put the two together and you have a greater potential for someone to get hurt.
I think you will find that the descendants of immigrants who suffered unimaginable trauma have not "gotten over it," either - they just know America is not responsible for that trauma, so they don't have anything to demand of America. (In many cases, the political entity that enacted that trauma is effectively no longer existent, so they have no one to make demands from and they have gotten as close to justice as they ever will; in many cases, America was directly responsible for that happening, so they certainly have no reason to feel like America owes them anything.)
I'm specifically referring to the people referred to in the comment I was replying to, i.e., immigrants who fled trauma in their home countries and became successful in America.
I agree that there are also many cases where America did inflict trauma on immigrants, and they can rightly hold America responsible in such a case. But that's not what the person I was replying to was talking about.
Yup. My mom and dad came to this country with nothing. My mom had $30 and a husband, who, she didn't even know, was 'employed' by her brother-in-law but not paid wages. They managed to escape virtual slavery at age 30, have two kids, and achieve the American dream. Mom even went to school again while putting both her kids in private school (didn't live in a great school district).
America's been pretty great to us. Both my brother and I married outside our race. My brother and
I are all American. My daughter and my nieces and nephews are literally the most american story you can make. Their existence is only made possible by a place such as America. The melting pot still exists, and it's amazing.
Cancel culture seeks to destroy that which makes America great. Is it perfect, no... of course not. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. For all their failures, the various figure in American history often also have views and attitudes worth remembering, and that's what they're idolized for. And good for them... their ideals are better than the alternative. Without these imperfect individuals holding on to their -- sometimes even hypocritical -- ideals, stories like my parent's, my wife's parents, and my sister-in-law's parents would never happen.
> Contrary to what has been reported, no one at the University of California is prohibited from making statements such as “America is a melting pot,”
Simply being discouraged from saying something is scary enough. Look at the UCLA professor who didn't give his students extra time on the tests and received death threats. The silencing is deafening. Maybe you should try to hear it.
This is attacking a straw man. There is no (serious) argument to "cancel" America wholesale (well, apart from the anarchists, but they'd agree with you about all those other countries too). There is a serious argument for holding America accountable for the things she has done wrong. You only hold people accountable whom you believe are actually trying to do good and whom you actually think can do better. People talk about the world's dictatorships and ongoing crimes against humanity with a tone of resignation because nobody really expects them to decide to be better; they talk about America with a tone of correction because they believe America can improve. Your parents didn't "cancel" you for each childhood mistake, but I certainly hope they asked you to demonstrate that you understood what you did wrong and asked you to make amends if possible - that's how you grow.
That's what Popehat's story is about, I think. The story is poignant specifically because America broke a promise to these soldiers - and finally acknowledged and remedied it. The author makes it clear that these soldiers had every right to be hurt, but they loved America anyway - which is very different from ignoring the mistake. The author calls it a "stain on out honor" because we have honor.
It wasn't their responsibility to criticize America for failing them - but that means it was someone else's responsibility. Part of what makes the nation great is that in 1990 people did care enough to grant then citizenship, finally.
"America! America! God mend thine every flaw! Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law!"
I think this is not an uncommon opinion and it’s becoming more and more mainstream. And that sort of thinking is an attempt to cancel America. It’s not just saying that America has done certain bad things and we need to fix them. It’s saying that the founders were bad so we get to relitigate everything. America can always be improved, but you can’t just slap the label “America” on whatever grab-bag of ideas you want. America is an opinionated nation (in the sense of “opinionated software”). And there is an ongoing movement to cancel those opinions.
See, this, right there, is the root of the majority of our problems. The world isn't twitter.
Twitter is majoritarily left leaning, middle class, white, US male, millennials  stop making it sound like the world is out to cancel the US. It's a tiny minority of the world on a big website, a big fish in a small pond. Don't shape your view of the world through twitter.
It's like going to a KKK rally and being upset everyone is racist.
Can you see how a reasonable person might read this as catastrophizing? The tweet you linked to is pretty banal, and appears factual. I'm having trouble even connecting the dots from "many of the founders were slaveowners" to "let's cancel America". The nuns taught me the same thing in 1980s Catholic grammar school.
It would be a perfectly fine observation if that was all. But it goes further and says that “the next time someone says we can’t question their judgment on guns or whatever, show them this image.” That logic—or lack thereof, it’s an ad hominem—can be used to put all of our founding principles on the chopping block. It’s an attempt to delegitimize the animating principles of our country.
I'm having trouble with this, because it implies pretty directly that Lincoln betrayed the founding principles of the country when he abolished slavery. Obviously, you don't mean that. But how does your argument square with it? Or with women's suffrage? Is it just that Lincoln was nicer to the founding fathers?
> 8. That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom: That, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that "no persons should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law," it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States.
But that viewpoint is plainly at odds with the actual beliefs of the founding fathers who owned slaves, right? That is clearly a reinterpretation of the words that didn't match what the founding fathers meant by them.
(Even if you discount those like Washington who owned slaves and felt bad about it, plenty owned slaves and thought slavery was a good and important thing and put their names to those words.)
Is it enough to believe internally that you are vindicating what America's founding principles really were in order to be able to criticize the actual beliefs of the founding fathers without "cancelling America"?
> But that viewpoint is plainly at odds with the actual beliefs of the founding fathers who owned slaves, right? That is clearly a reinterpretation of the words that didn't match what the founding fathers meant by them.
The founding principles are not the beliefs of individual framers. They're what they collectively agreed on and wrote down and committed to. And slavery was not one of the principles they committed to. There is a document that committed to slavery as a founding principle, it's called the Constitution of the Confederate States. And we fought a civil war to wipe that document off the face of the earth. Here is what the Vice President of the Confederacy said about the founding in 1861: https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/cornersto...
> The prevailing ideas entertained by [Jefferson] and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time.
Lincoln and the Republicans were rejecting the compromise the Constitution included to enable slavery to continue. But they, quite correctly, didn't view rejection of that compromise as rejection of the founding principles. They saw it as a vindication of those principles.
> Is it enough to believe internally that you are vindicating what America's founding principles really were in order to be able to criticize the actual beliefs of the founding fathers without "cancelling America"?
If you want to make the argument that "gun rights are incompatible with the founding principles, as articulated in the Declaration, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, etc." then that's a fine argument to make. That was the same kind of argument Lincoln and the Republicans made in arguing to end slavery. But that's very different from saying "it doesn't matter what gun rights are a principle articulated by the founders because those guys owned slaves and we don't need to defer to the principles they articulated." That's trying to cancel America.
But what they collectively agreed to and wrote down was a pro-slavery document. It drastically boosted the electoral power of plantation states by counting slaves. It enshrined a national mandate to hunt down and recover slaves who escaped to the north. The one part of the Constitution Article V prohibits amending is the moratorium on slave importation laws!
Clearly, despite whatever lip service they felt they needed to pay to their forefathers, Lincoln's Republicans sharply reconsidered the consensus of the founding fathers, tore up the old rules, and remade them.
And whatever deference you want to give to Lincoln's political rhetoric over his actions, I don't see how you can muster any similar defense for the 19th Amendment.
And, respectfully: so long as the path we take to reaching a reconsideration of the 2nd Amendment --- a reconsideration supported by a pretty big faction of constitutional scholars! --- follows the rules in the Constitution, nothing has been "canceled". We're using the tools we've been provided specifically for the purposes they were provided for.
> But what they collectively agreed to and wrote down was a pro-slavery document. It drastically boosted the electoral power of plantation states by counting slaves. It enshrined a national mandate to hunt down and recover slaves who escaped to the north.
This reading is illogical and ahistorical. Illogical because there is a logical difference between a document that enshrines slavery as an animating principle, and one that contains compromises with slavery to preserve the fledging union between the free states and the slave states. The Constitution is the latter kind of document.
To address your specific example of "boosting the electoral power of plantation states," for example, you have it precisely backwards. Today Constitution apportions votes based on the number of "persons" in each state. Then, as now, that includes every person, whether or not they can vote or otherwise have legal rights. And nobody disputed that enslaved persons were persons (and that is how the 1789 Constitution treats them--it distinguishes between "free persons" and "all other persons"). Therefore, the baseline was for each enslaved person to count fully towards representation of the slave states. The free states argued that enslaved persons should be excluded from the count because under the laws of the slave states, they were treated like property. That argument succeeded in part, and the compromise operated to reduce the power of the slave states.
> Clearly, despite whatever lip service they felt they needed to pay to their forefathers, Lincoln's Republicans sharply reconsidered the consensus of the founding fathers, tore up the old rules, and remade them.
What did Lincoln reconsider? Did they reconsider federalism, gun rights, bicameral legislature? There are a whole host of principles underlying the Constitution, the virtues of which were extolled at length in the Federalist Papers. Did he reconsider any of those? What they reconsidered was a compromise that enabled certain states to retain slavery, but which didn't serve as a foundation for anything else in the Constitution. As Frederick Douglas observed, it took almost no revision to the Constitution itself to eliminate slavery. The 13th/14th/15th amendments were all directed at preventing the south from re-establishing slavery and protecting newly freed people.
> And, respectfully: so long as the path we take to reaching a reconsideration of the 2nd Amendment --- a reconsideration supported by a pretty big faction of constitutional scholars! --- follows the rules in the Constitution, nothing has been "canceled". We're using the tools we've been provided specifically for the purposes they were provided for.
We are cancelling one of the most foundational aspects of rule of law, which is: what did the people who wrote this legal document think these words meant? People designed a system with inter-locking rules. They had a design! What does "freedom of speech" mean? What does "freedom of the press mean?” What does "the right to bear arms" mean? If we can disregard what the people who wrote those words thought they meant, because those people owned slaves--if that becomes a valid mode of argumentation when it comes time to applying those rules--then the notion of constitutional governance would become a farce.
To appreciate the problem that arises, compare to how the German constitution handles things: https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1.... In Germany, there is an explicit hierarchy of structural and substantive principles that guide constitutional interpretation. For example, Germany is a federal republic, and Germany’s constitutional court interprets the basic law with an express eye to considering federalism concerns, and related concerns such as separation of powers, etc. They take it very seriously over there. In US constitutional scheme, we rely on our understanding of the framers’ Constitutional design to effectuate these principles and serve that same purpose. If we can dismiss the framers’ deliberate design because of their moral shortcomings, then it would become trivial to eviscerate these principles. At that point I’d demand a new constitutional convention because what would be left wouldn’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.
First, let me just say that it's rarely a pleasure for me to write a brief comment and get an essay in response, but I'm always glad to get one from you, and I appreciate you taking the time.
Having said that: no, I think you have this pretty much wrong. I took the time to read Sandefur's National Review article, and while I don't find much of what he writes persuasive, I also don't think his argument can be conscripted as cleanly as you suppose it can be.
Sandefur is a biographer of Frederick Douglass and writes about what F.D. believed to be a viable legal argument for constitutional abolition of slavery. Sandefur acknowledges that historians find many of these arguments strained; for instance: the Slave Trade Clause doesn't mention slavery, just "importation of persons", and the Fugitive Slave Clause mentions only "persons held to service or labor". That's interesting and all, but there's a reason the Fugitive Slave Clause is a proper noun: it was talking about slavery. Meanwhile: at the time, F.D.'s arguments didn't work. We had to fight a war to get rid of slavery. Lincoln had to preempt the constitution to eliminate slavery.
I don't dispute that compromise with northern abolitionists forced the framers to couch their language more carefully than they would have otherwise. But then: the author of the tweet you're talking about also didn't blot everyone's faces out. And the fact that there were convicted abolitionists among the framers makes it all the more notable that the document they ultimately ratified protected the institution of slavery, so much so that slavery had to be abolished by name in the 13th Amendment.
Your three-fifths compromise argument makes my point for me: as I said, abolitionists wanted slaves to count zero. Slavers fought to have their chattel property counted. Historians appear to accept that the result of this --- padding southern-state representation with slaves --- strengthened and prolonged the institution of slavery.
All of these arguments, by the way, seem reasonable! It's an interesting debate! My answer to "have Volokh and the National Review refuted the 1619 Project" is not the same as my answer to "have they shown the constitution of the Fugitive Slave Clause to be an anti-slavery document". But, more importantly: just the fact that we even have to have this debate, and to rewrite the story of US history most of us were taught as children, is a pretty strong indication that what we're talking about isn't a revolutionary reconsideration of the founding principles of the country.
Using the tools the framers gave us to bring the Constitution into line with our current principles isn't a refutation of the framers, any more than it was when we gave women the vote. You don't need to wait to demand a constitutional convention! Generate the support you need and do it now! That's the point of an amendable constitution.
(I don't think 2A is going to get amended at all, for what it's worth. But it's also the case that people smarter than both of us, including some who've sat on the Supreme Court, reject the way it's currently interpreted. I think it's a dumb amendment, and I love this country and its system of government.)
It is an attention to argue that the founding principles of this country are open to legitimate debate and that people who love America can hold that some of them were simply wrong without loving America any less.
What I don't get is this newfound attempt to argue that what we once called the Great Experiment is immune from criticism, to portray the success of America as an inevitable result of the holy prophets who gave us the Constitution on stone tablets and not the work of men who made mistakes and learned from them.
> It is an attention to argue that the founding principles of this country are open to legitimate debate and that people who love America can hold that some of them were simply wrong without loving America any less.
So you agree that it's an attempt to attack the founding principles.
> What I don't get is this newfound attempt to argue that what we once called the Great Experiment is immune from criticism, to portray the success of America as an inevitable result of the holy prophets who gave us the Constitution on stone tablets and not the work of men who made mistakes and learned from them.
Nobody is saying that the founding principles are "immune from criticism." But they are the bedrock on which our country is built. And they warrant more deference than the kind of arguments Parsa is making. Parsa's ad hominem is not a logically valid basis for criticizing the founders' principles regarding gun rights: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem. The founding principles deserve better than that.
Societies need shared principles. When I became a U.S. citizen, I took an oath to "support and defend the Constitution." What does that mean? To me, that means buying into the basic premises of our republic. Free speech, freedom of religion, protection of private property, equality before the law. And yes, also the right to bear arms. Those principles aren't immune from criticism, but to make society workable the burden for doing so must be high. A functioning society can't relitigate its founding principles with every routine policy debate. But that's exactly what Parsa's argument invites. If we shouldn't give full effect to the second amendment because many founders were slaveholders, we can cast aside every constitutional principle for the same reason. Federalism, private property, free speech--we get to relitigate everything on a blank slate.
And they warrant more deference than the kind of arguments Parsa is making.
The argument is practically an anodyne American political discourse cliché and you're treating it as some kind of important and concern-worthy attack on the foundations of the US social order. How is that warranted? Here's an example from a comedy movie of the early 90s, itself set in 1976:
He could believe the sentiment has reached some kind of popular fever pitch, though it'd be hard to reconcile that with the Long Hot Summer of '67. When the red dots on JPEGs turn into political assassinations, it'll be easier for me to see this moment as somehow uniquely disruptive.
The Constitution you took an oath to defend includes a mechanism for altering it, which is why we no longer have chattel slavery, why women can vote, why we vote for senators, why we have a federal income tax, and why we have presidential term limits, all of which contravene consensus principles among the founders.
You could even litigate some of these changes --- maybe it's a bad thing that we directly elect senators! --- and your argument still fails, because to survive, it has to establish that "fuck the beliefs of these old dead white guys" is a uniquely disruptive idea, when in fact it's an idea we've had over and over again throughout our history.
> The Constitution you took an oath to defend includes a mechanism for altering it, which is why we no longer have chattel slavery, why women can vote, why we vote for senators, why we have a federal income tax, and why we have presidential term limits, all of which contravene consensus principles among the founders.
Sure. If people want to amend the Constitution to get rid of the second amendment, have at it. I’m not talking about attempts to amend the Constitution or argue in favor of such amendments.
But you don’t have to amend the constitution to whittle the second amendment (or any other constitutional principle) down to nothing as a matter of practice. (Look how we’ve created a fourth branch of government, the largest of them all, without ever amending their constitution.) And if you can’t reference “here’s what the people who wrote this thought ‘the right to bear arms’ meant and why it’s important,” than you enable whittling it down to nothing.
> because to survive, it has to establish that "fuck the beliefs of these old dead white guys" is a uniquely disruptive idea, when in fact it's an idea we've had over and over again throughout our history.
It’s always been a terrible idea, and it scares me every time it mutates into a new and terrible form. Civilized countries don’t work this way. You routinely hear ad hominem attacks on federalism whenever it gets in the way of some attempt to impose nationwide rules. But we’re hardly the only federal republic. Somehow, Canada and Germany manage to take federalism seriously. They don’t give it lip service, they give it due weight. And they manage to govern while accommodating federalism concerns instead constantly re-litigating such a foundational concept.
I think you're just reading the rhetoric differently than I do. I don't read "these dead white dudes were slavers, so we should ignore the constitution". I read "these dead white dudes were slavers, so we should fix the constitution."
Many (maybe most!) of the changes the left would prefer for the constitution are things I wouldn't support. But then, that strongly suggests few other people will support them either, so I'm not too wound up about them. Adrian Vermuele genuinely and non-ironically believes that the constitution should be reorganized around the Catholic church, and he's got tenure from Harvard Law! I don't worry too much about his batshit ideas either, because of all the theocracies we could have, the Catholic one is among the least fun, and nobody is going to support it.
It's good that we can bat the ideas back and forth, though, if only to spot the bad ones! Vermeule and Deneen? Bad! Free cheeseburgers for everyone this Friday! But less reverence for the moral principles of slavers? I could be convinced!
Colin Kaepernick Tweeted today that 'July 4th is a Celebration of White Supremacy'.
This is an existential attack on the nation by a popular figure defended and support by most of the press and major international corporations.
I don't have the reference, but yesterday, in response to an arguably racist Tweet about a white person doing something within the range of normal, but being interpreted as negative, the top Tweet response from a Black woman with over 10K likes was simply 'White people are a disease'. Nobody though to take this down as 'hate speech it seems'. This is definitely an 'existential' statement about the system, not just the narrower BLM ideal of rectifying police injustice etc..
There is a legit movement to rectify past wrongs obviously, but there are definitely existential aspects to this that cannot be ignored.
So those are very populist examples, but there are definitely more foundational intellectual movements afoot as well.
'Cancel America' is sadly, a thing, mixed in with all the other things.
So I'll ignore the ugly ad-hominem and spell out in very basic terms why Colin's words are very powerful and such narratives will have 'existential' consequences, so that a child could understand.
Colin is a very popular figure in America, far more so than most politicians or news anchors, for example. Celebrities such as him have quite immense power to influence popular opinion, if they chose to.
If you have a look here at Google Trends, he's not quite as popular as 'the brand that defined brands' - Coca-Cola - but almost . Right now he's in the same 'league' as Coke. That's a big deal.
He took a 'bold' statement some time ago and was a global lightning rod for the press, he's now a 'known' figure in many places even outside America.
When he 'took a knee' to take a stand against police brutality, there were some who took umbrage because he was standing against the flag, which is a national symbol, not really a symbol of policing. At the same time he courted obvious controversy, though in support of a legitimate cause, he could plausibly defend his actions as merely just antagonising against police brutality. I'm a little bit cynical, but it's definitely reasonable.
Culture wars ensue.
The debate, to the extent that it's about the nature of police fairness, or police aggression, or even possibly the nature of policing - is all within the framework of normal concern. It's big, but it's the kind of things nations deal with.
However - making a statement such as 'July 4ht is a Celebration of White Supremacy' is obviously a statement of a completely different order.
Colin is saying the National Celebration of the USA is a Celebration of White Supremacy - which implies very directly that the state is, promotes, and defines White Supremacy.
This rhetoric isn't really about 'police brutality' anymore - it's a fundamentally different way of perceiving America. And since he's not some random Tweeter - he has a huge following, a lot of people hugely sympathetic all over the world esp. in the press, and major brands that support his cause, namely Nike, Netflix, and probably others - his views will resonate.
That major industrial constituents, popular brands and sports figures, and most of the media apparatus are willing to go along with his statements, which as a reminder, cast America as state of 'White Supremacy' - definitely implies have 'existential' consequences for America.
FYI 'existential' as it relates to the very nature or 'existence' of a thing, in this case 'America'.
When Nike, CNN, and Netflix are 'ok' with 'July 4th is a Celebration of White Supremacy', we have evidence of a very broad movement by some to completely dismantle the nature of what America is. I believe it's mostly on the fringe, and that most people sympathetic to issues such as 'police brutality' are not really interested in a fundamentally new America, but nevertheless, their acquiescence to radical positions such as 'America is a state of White Supremacy' is obviously going to embolden more of this.
The rhetoric is all over the place including important institutions ostensibly defending Truth.
Near where I live, Concordia University has this new program to 'decolonize light' . Yes, you read that correctly. Millions of dollars of tax money, at a respected institution to decolonize the very idea of light as in 'light waves' and 'physics' because the objective reality in which we use to try to understand the material world is 'Colonialist'.
So let's compare to the Colin scenario.
Having a Uni. program to try to get a better understanding of Aboriginal history and culture, and maybe to perceive how they thought about the world, is interesting. Controversial maybe, but definitely within the bounds of academic thought. This would be Colin 'taking a knee against police brutality'.
But starting a program to very literally put 'Aboriginal Wisdom' and their 'interpretation of light' on equal footing with what is just an objective, material view (and has nothing to do with 'Western' or 'Colonial) - is an existential challenge to the institution itself.
Concordia University is now promoting completely arbitrary 'make believe' as of equal merit to objective science, physics no less, obviously for political and social reasons, having nothing at all to do with any kind of Science, in any meaning of the word.
So an institution designed to help bring forth the Enlightenment, is now chartered to do literally the opposite: promoting made up rubbish as 'Truth'. I'm fully supportive of cultural and religious studies, in their place. But this would be like having the 'Biblical Study of Physics' as in 'How Noah's Ark Was Able To House All The World's Animals' - and post that up as 'Science' on par with 'Colonial Science'.
Finally, I will add as another little example, of which there are many: "Faith in Whiteness: Free Exercise of Religion as Racial Expression Khaled A. Beydoun*" 
So this is a deeply bigoted and racist rant, passed off as academic material, and published in a respected legal journal, that attempts to conflate the challenges of the justice system in the 1950's, with - you guessed it - White Supremacy.
Were 'respected' academic to point out that people of different racial backgrounds faced challenges in American courts, and by the way, courts all over the world, and that this is worthy of consideration - this would be like Colin 'taking a knee' to draw attention to some special cause.
But it's not. The racist author, who ironically labels himself an export on Islamophobia, writes mostly about a vague and evil concept of 'Whiteness' as the 'root cause' of the issues. In a paper with quite a number of references, he doesn't ever bother to try to define what 'Whiteness' really even is (other than that it's vile and evil), and of course, completely ignores the fact that racial inconsistency is not an American, or even 'White', phenom. And of course he doesn't bother to indicate that Justice Systems of European nations tend to actually have a considerable degree of integrity with respect to most other parts of the world. But that's nit-picking.
His treatise is not like 'taking a knee' or 'BLM', it's more akin to saying that 'America is a state of White Supremacy' - again, an 'existential' re-articulation of what the nation is. He is a tenured prof, this is published in a respected legal journal.
So there are a few examples of forces promoting a fundamentally different, antagonistic view of America, backed by highly 'legitimate' institutions, credentials, governments, major brands, popular figures, the press, and considerable budgets - all the while leveraging the goodwill of a lot of regular people who would be happy to support more classical progress, but who wouldn't otherwise agree with statements like 'America's National Holiday is a Celebration of White Supremacy'.
That almost nobody would agree with Colin's bigotry, and that obviously quite a substantial number would be truly offended, and that he faces absolutely no consequences, is a good measure of where the balance of popular power on such issues currently resides.
This is not about taking down Confederate Statues - that's a normal 'debate' if you want to call it that. It's about taking down George Washington, then Lincoln, the Flag, and everything else.
For many, just recently "White Supremacy" now equates to "Western Supremacy" which is left to the readers imagination. I suspect that, for example, advocating for democracy, defending the idea of innocent until proven guilty, criticism of repressive regimes, promoting free enterprise or espousing about the sanctity of the individual, or perhaps just Christianity could be seen as promotion of western standards and therefore a supremacist. Where before a white supremacist was just literally a neo nazi, now they might or might not be any politician from 30 years ago.
Like software, America is not the set of opinions it happens to have today but the process for changing those opinions. A healthy software development project has leadership that feels comfortable changing the software as they learn more about how people are using it. If, say, Kubernetes adds support for adding containers to an already-running Pod, that's not an attempt to "cancel" Kubernetes, it's an attempt to improve it.
The founders were, in fact, people who made serious errors of moral judgment, in the way the tweet you link points out. That's a reason we shouldn't, in fact, trust every opinion they had. We can still follow their opinions on process and principles - we can believe that all men were created equal, and take it to the logical conclusion that they didn't. We can believe in a representative democracy with certain features. We can believe in the various branches of government. We can believe, as they did, that people with their facilities of reason can govern better than any king with divine right.
If you really think that admitting that the founders owned slaves is an attack on the heart of America and that you cannot love America without agreeing with the founding fathers about slavery, well, that's the first good argument I've heard for canceling America - but you're the one making it.
> The founders were, in fact, people who made serious errors of moral judgment, in the way the tweet you link points out. That's a reason we shouldn't, in fact, trust every opinion they had. We can still follow their opinions on process and principles - we can believe that all men were created equal, and take it to the logical conclusion that they didn't. We can believe in a representative democracy with certain features. We can believe in the various branches of government. We can believe, as they did, that people with their facilities of reason can govern better than any king with divine right.
Agreed. Add to that separation of powers, federalism, limited government, protection of private property, gun rights, free speech, religious freedom, etc. Because those are also principles that the country is built upon.
> A healthy software development project has leadership that feels comfortable changing the software as they learn more about how people are using it.
Your software analogy is very good, but it supports my point, not yours. Software, like our country, is built on structural principles. Kubernetes is built on containerization. UNIX is based on exposing everything as a file. L4 is based on various principles associated with microkernels. Those principles transcend any specific features. For example, you can argue against systemd on the basis that it contradicts the UNIX principle of having small, independent programs that each do one thing. We shouldn't be able to attack those principles through ad hominem attacks on the people who articulated them.
> If you really think that admitting that the founders owned slaves is an attack on the heart of America
That's not what the tweet is doing. Read the whole thing. The tweet is invoking that fact to attack one of the founding principles, specifically gun rights.
Apply your software analogy to the logic of the tweet, say in the context of ReiserFS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReiserFS. ReiserFS has a design principle that various kinds of metadata are stored in a "single, combined B+ tree keyed by a universal object ID." That principle permeates the structure of the whole file system. Is it proper to attack that principle by saying "Hans Reiser murdered his wife?" That's exactly the sort of reasoning in the tweet.
Agreed. Add to that separation of powers, federalism, limited government, protection of private property, gun rights, free speech, religious freedom, etc. Because those are also principles that the country is built upon.
The framers didn't believe in limited government. They didn't even incorporate their own bill of rights into the states! Their successors had to do it for them! The framers were concerned about limiting the federal government. And the people concerned about making sure the Constitution affirmatively protected religion? Yeah, those'd be the antifederalists. The only thing the Constitution says about religion is that the government should be kept the hell away from it.
These are nitpicks, but I think they're important, because the argument you're constructing uses terms that are used by American conservatives, and in that context they mean very different things. The American right seeks to limit all government, laboratories of democracy be damned. Would the framers wouldn't have batted an eyelash at the idea that a state constitution might impinge on the second amendment? Was it unusual for locales to prohibit firearms at the time?
Your argument reads as a convoluted form of "I have a black friend so I can't be racist". I've never seen so many straw men in a single post.
The US has problems that are nowhere as bad in other first world countries and people seem to not even be able to acknowledge that. They're 2 steps ahead on some aspects and 10 steps behind on many more. Yes some people have it real good in the US, but many other have it real bad too, and the ones who have it bad have it worse than in most first world countries. That you and your friends are successful doesn't change that fact.
When people go in the streets, weeks after weeks, risking to get maimed or killed, you have to ask yourself why. If you stop at "Uh I don't like that", "they're just thugs" you haven't done your job as a citizen. Talking of history, people going in the streets and making things change is a pretty big part of almost any countries' history. If anything they're writing history right now.
> And if we follow the logic of cancel culture, we should cancel Rome, cancel Greece, cancel renaissance, cancel all religions, cancel Europe, cancel China, cancel India, cancel Africa. They all had their share of slavery, for centuries. They all had their share of atrocity, again for centuries. Then what's left? What's the point? And should we cancel our childhood? Should we cancel ourselves? Most of us, after all, did something stupid or horrible when we were young. Should our parents cancel us?
What logic ? Come on, stop playing dumb, no one ever made these points, ever. Go outside, out of your echo chambers, in the real world, talk to people. What you're describing doesn't exist outside of twitter fringe communities.
> That's why it's history! Human learn. Human improve.
And that's exactly what people are trying to do when they tell you to stop flying the confederate flag and having statues of people with dubious past in front of their town hall.
> We have NBA who have more than 70% of black athletes. We idolize them.
> you have to ask yourself why. If you stop at "Uh I don't like that", "they're just thugs" you haven't done your job as a citizen. Talking of history, people going in the streets and making things change is a pretty big part of almost any countries' history. If anything they're writing history right now.
What kind of straw man is this? In which part of the comment did I complain about peaceful protesting? Huh? In which part of the comment did I say US does not have flaws? And in which part of the comment did I say "they are just thugs"? Since you're talking about it, let's be specific: those who tear down statues without city's permission are thugs. Those who burned down buildings are thugs. Those who shoot innocent people are thugs. Those who spray graffiti on private properties are thugs. Those who carry out the plan of "if we don't what we deserve, we will burn the system down" are thugs. Those who looted business are thugs. Those who shot people in CHAZ are thugs. And let's be clear, any one, be it left or right or moderate, does any of the above is a thug. Oh, and the reporters who told audience that "the protest is largely peaceful" while standing right in front of a burning building while thugs were looting? They are thugs too because they are willing to sacrifice other people's rights to advance their own political ideal.
> What logic ? Come on, stop playing dumb, no one ever made these points, ever. Go outside, out of your echo chambers, in the real world, talk to people. What you're describing doesn't exist outside of twitter fringe communities.
I'm not sure who's playing dumb here, and who's in an echo chamber. Are you saying "cancel culture" does not exist? 'Cause I was specifically criticizing the cancel culture and particularly the support it gets from MSM like WaPo and NYT. Are you saying WaPo or NYT didn't publish articles that support "cancellation" of Mount Rushmore just because its lead sculptor was a racist? Are you saying WaPo didn't publish another article that argues "It is time to reconsider the global legacy of July 4, 1776", which argues that "American independence helped further colonialism and white supremacy"? Are you saying the congress didn't condone the cancel culture? Are you saying that a professor in Oxford didn't say "white lives do not matter", and the university didn't stand behind it? Are you saying that WaPo didn't publish an article yesterday that specifically argues that "Both namesakes of Washington and Lee University perpetuated racial terror. The school should be renamed"? Are you saying that no one was yelling "Burn the system down" in protest? Are you saying that no one burned the flag of the US? No one flashed middle fingers to the fireworks yesterday? And no one got beaten for waving a flag of the US? Are you saying that statues are not toppled, schools are not renamed, or Gone with the Wind were not taken offline?
> And that's exactly what people are trying to do when they tell you to stop flying the confederate flag and having statues of people with dubious past in front of their town hall.
This is such a straw man. Shame on you. Both far right and far left are dangerous. Why do I even need to mention such common sense to you?
Of course racism exists. In which part did I say it did't? I bet there are more racism in people's private conversation. NBA is really just one example that the system in the US is not rigged by racist. Of course I don't know what I don't know, hence I was honestly asking what policies are racist policies, and what prevents us from changing them.
As an immigrant, I don't feel the same sadness you do. There's still many injustices in the US, and framing it as "hating their own country" is extremely unfair: people are frustrated about a lot of things, people are emotional about a lot of things, and I don't think it's fair for you to discard it as simply "disdain".
After all, America was founded on rebellion against the status quo (what day is it today again?), and I hope that doesn't change.
As an American from birth, and speaking for myself, it's not hating my country. It's frustration and sometimes anger at our failure to do better. I believe that doing better than we are is within our grasp, but we, as a nation, so often seem to turn away from positive change in favor of a comfortable and easy (for many Americans) status quo that is ultimately inadequate and often blindly hypocritical.
I know people like to fantasize that the national debt will be paid down eventually, but we are just sitting waiting for widespread budget crises and the municipal and state levels. The federal government can solve the problem with the stroke of a pen.
That is incorrect (Belgium is not one of the biggest EU countries nor is Sweden). But even if it were true, wouldn't you want to aspire to something greater than being 7th going on 6th in the world out of 200 countries in terms of deaths per capita?
This thread seems to have too many examples of effusivelt lauding the US for being marginally better than whichever repulsive place that is worst in the world at a particular metric - rather than trying to be the shining "city upon a hill" and taking up best practices.
We are ahead of France, Italy, Spain, and the UK. These are not “repulsive places” that are the worst in the world on a metric—they’re some of the richest and most developed countries in the world, and account for half the population of the EU.
Well for now. With cases rising like crazy in the US, it fair to assume deaths will follow.
It always puzzles me that this kind of argument goes "we are the best" -> "here are numbers that show you are not" -> "but we are not the worst, look over there". Kind of like discussing sports teams. Same fanboyism.
France just replaced the government, the prime minister that is, after the local elections. The former prime minister is being investigated over his treatment of the Covid-19 pandemic.
My family is Bangladeshi immigrants and we have been talking about this lately too. My parents just moved into a new house, and yesterday my dad installed a big American flag. My parents are Democrats so they agree ideologically with CNN, etc., but even they’re getting sick of the over-the-top weeping and rending of clothes.
There is basically no penalty (social, legal, financial, professional, etc) for going "too far" in condemning America, especially if you are a middle-to-upper class white person in an urban area. In fact there may be rewards. So just thinking about the dynamics of that, why wouldn't people go too far?
Did it ever occur to you that media outlets are businesses, and so their talking bobble-heads pander to whatever they think will help their bottom-line and perception as being "cool" or "with it"?
TBH, I was initially imagining your family being a bit sick of all the weeping and rending of clothes about Sacred America, the national entity one must worship or be unworthy. Embrace the flag or GTFO!
Get over it, it's a place. It's a country. It has a checkered past, as most countries do.
It's not perfect, nor is it the most villainous regime ever.
The current trend towards realizing Americas flaws is related to it's decline as an empire. Expect more of the same to the degree that said flaws are not addressed, expect more decline and plan for it, ideally by de-imperialising like Kemal Ataturk would have recommended, lol.
What some smarter folks may realize is that America has created a global empire and an imperial structure to match it, replete with satrapies.
Surely there are some consequences for being the Global Cop (TM)
As history assures us, no empire lasts forever.
I would humbly propose less handwringing but also less manipulation of the rest of the world, as this will save us from future handwringing. Let's back out of the Global Empire business and start trying to back the values we actually stand for.
Supporting Mubarak and Sisi in Egypt is not a long term value I will argue we should be projecting.
Do I need to elaborate further on this theme? We risk leaving the world a legacy of mere "might = right", which is not likely the legacy we want to be remembered for.
If one truly "LOVES" ones country, (It's a bizarre thing to require compulsive adoration of an abstract entity on par with the feelings one has for a spouse or family member. Such compulsory adulation is a tool used to build armies and blind loyalty, which is wrongful. I realize that one may need to find a structure of meaning to comprehend the loss of a loved one who died following orders and "defending a nation") one will seek to fix its flaws and will address criticisms as bringing up potential flaws to address.
Vote Red. Don't mistake not being mentioned with being ignored. Took my parents (Indian) a while to make the switch, but they've never looked back.
> We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion, and creed. Every child, of every color — born and unborn — is made in the holy image of God. (Applause.)
> We want free and open debate, not speech codes and cancel culture.
> We embrace tolerance, not prejudice.
> We are the country of Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Frederick Douglass. We are the land of Wild Bill Hickock and Buffalo Bill Cody. (Applause.) We are the nation that gave rise to the Wright Brothers, the Tuskegee Airmen — (applause) — Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Jesse Owens, George Patton — General George Patton — the great Louie Armstrong, Alan Shepard, Elvis Presley, and Mohammad Ali. (Applause.) And only America could have produced them all. (Applause.) No other place.
-- Trump's address at Mt Rushmore
EDIT: you don't even need to vote for Trump, just look at your local elections.
While the progressives are indeed successfully driving Indians, Asians and other immigrants into the arms of Republicans thanks to their embrace of identity politics and cancel culture, the answer is for the silent majority of mainstream liberals to openly repudiate progressivism, as Obama did, and drive them away from the Democratic Party. Make it clear that the liberal left truly welcomes people of all races and beliefs, not just the ones the progressives favor, and that the left seeks to heal the country, not to divide it as Trump and the progressives do.
Is it truly the "progressives" who have the identitarian obsession? From my observations of really leftist folks, they seem most eager to talk about class and economics and peace. (Thanks, Obama!) Meanwhile the presumed presidential candidate, embarrassed as he must be by his racist history, can't decide which woman of color he wants as VP, but he knows she will be a woman of color.
If you fail to understand how so many Indigenous and Black people of this country view it with such contempt, I would recommend a few reads. But first I would ask you to consider that whatever greatness it can claim lies not in it’s continued founding myths, but in the many unheralded acts of sacrifice and resistance that so many of it’s marginalized citizens made and continue to make down to this very minute.
James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time”, or his “No Name in the Street” layout both how the country was brought to the reckoning of the Civil Rights movement and then completely capitulated to white supremacy. Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the 4th of July”  still rings true to so many of us. Read David Truer’s “ The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present” on the meticulousness explicated horror of how this country has and continues to destroy and devalue Indigenous life.
The people protesting Friday in the Black Hills or in the front lines of the Black Lives Matter actions are calling upon us all to view it as it is, and dare to imagine what it could be.
I am sad that we don’t embrace the movement to bring about real democracy.
> I would ask you to consider that whatever greatness it can claim lies not in it’s continued founding myths, but in the many unheralded acts of sacrifice and resistance that so many of it’s marginalized citizens made and continue to make down to this very minute.
Did you mean to make this an either or thing? I’m a supporter of BLM and have long been a supporter of criminal justice reform. But I also think a lot of America's “greatness” rests on the founders’ creation of a Republic with limited government, separation of powers, free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, an armed citizenry, due process, etc.
People shouldn’t take those things for granted, because those were also achievements, not some inevitable, universal principles. I come from a country that has ideas like freedom of religion and due process embedded in its constitution. We lifted these ideas from the US Constitution and the magna carts because they are foreign to us. For example, according to the dominant religion in our country, people of other religions should not enjoy equal status. Likewise, freedom of speech is a totally foreign concept imported from the west.
Who isn’t embracing it? Every person I know on LinkedIn has made some sort of statement, including a few high level managers I went to school with and could call out because they say they’re an “ally” and lived in a “diverse” neighborhood when really they lived in the rich subdivision and went to private school as the neighborhood became “lower class”. But I don’t really know what putting an old classmate on blast on LinkedIn is going to accomplish.
Black lives do matter, but BLM the organization gets a lot of flak because they're unfortunately hijacking the concern of black lives with a Marxist political agenda. Here's one of the founders discussing this in an interview about BLM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCghDx5qN4s&t=423s
It's sad to me that we can't have a conversation about police brutality without having Marxists inject themselves into the conversation and harness it for a political agenda that is so violent and manipulative. I care very much about the sanctity of all lives, but I can't discuss black lives without having to explain that I don't support Marxists. That is messed up.
If you have come to a point of discomfort in seeing Marxism discussed within the context of Black Lives Matter, then you are where you need to be. Sit with it.
It is a radical movement, the larger goal of which, discussed in [1,2], is the complete dismantling of white supremacy. What would a United States look like in which all life was equally valued? We don’t know, none of us has experienced that world, and that is why (I would contend) there is an urgent need to consider all options. The movement is not just about anti-Black policing, it is about bringing about a United States (a world?) where Black life (or the life of any marginalized person) is as valued and as treasured and held as sacred as any other.
You might also consider that Black radicalism has a long intellectual history [3,4,5].
In sum, I am saying to take a moment to understand the long historical context that birthed this movement. Sit with the discomfort that goes along with the process that will bring that world into being.
 “When they call you a terrorist: a black lives matter memoir”, Patrice Khan-Cullors, Asha Bandele
 “Stay woke: a People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter”, Tehama Lopez Bunyasi, Candis Watts Smith
 “The Black Jacobins”, C.L.R. James
 “Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition”, Cedric Robinson
 “Black Reconstruction in America: 1860-1880”, W.E.B. DuBois
The idea that others are to blame for one’s suffering is maybe the most potent and toxic of all political ideas, and it has thrived like a mind-virus for thousands of years. The truth is that people of all races in the USA are _not_ blocked by racism from living a good live, but certain political forces sell this story (the victim identity) in order to control certain groups of voters, and play shallow ego-gratifying mind games in academia.
I have hardly seen any black or native American viewing its country with contempt. Most of the haters are young native born white leftist without any recent experience with immigration within their families.
I believe you've constructed a straw man argument about those who "hate" their own country.
It's easy to feel self-righteous when your opposition "hates".
I guarantee you someone out there thinks that I hate America, just because they extrapolate a whole set of beliefs from one thing I've said.
There are people out there (probably on your Nextdoor, because they're certainly on mine!), angry about BLM protests. Angry about the chaos. Angry about statues. Angry about violence. Angry about looting. People saying "if these protestors get in my way, I'mma run them over in my truck." People saying "if you want help defending your business, just say the word and me and my bros will come back you up". People saying "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." People like our president. Advocating extrajudicial execution of American citizens. Do they hate America? Why or why not?
It’s interesting to see how Europeans are so nationalistic. The Swiss are very proud. They have excellent branding so to speak and you’ll know when something is Swiss made because the marketing around it would be overwhelming. I dated an Italian and there was intense sense of patriotism in everything they did. On the other hand, Swedes and Germans aren’t as much.
Nationalism in some ways bothers me because it creates a lens through which you see the world in a form of distortion.
I feel like I might get downvoted for this, but a large part of it comes from a sense of guilt about clearly being the most successful and powerful country in the world. When nearly everyone else on earth constantly gives you shit (while also trying to enter...) many people here have started accepting those foreign perspectives and seeing themselves as spoiled and privileged. I can remember this being true from when I was a child. It has been happening for a long time. Complacent adults have never stood up and tried to set things straight.
Many Americans don't want to seem naive about how good they have it, so they overcompensate by disliking the country instead.
It doesn't help that being successful has made life incredibly easy for a significant fraction of people, who find fulfillment in social justice rather than family and work, because they aren't as necessary anymore. Social justice as a way of living tends to correlate with self hatred, which extends to the country.
There are other factors of course, but these ones are large.
about clearly being the most successful and powerful country in the world
And this to the rest of the world is typical America arrogance. I am sorry to be blunt, but I have to call it out.
I won't debate that the US is the most powerful country in the world. But 'most successful' is very debatable. I have been in the US often, and found that most Americans are far less well off than in other Western democracies. Most Americans have very few vacation days, poor healthcare, and are in a spot where losing their job means a large probability of falling into poverty. Plus your political system (democrat or republican) completely fails to serve most citizens.
To add to the offense, the nationalism instilled in many Americans makes it so that they believe that these are not failings of the system. After all, everyone can live the American dream, and if you do not make it, it is your own responsibility rather than that of the system that puts most people at a large disadvantage.
I would never even consider moving from Nothern/Western Europe to the US. Canada, maybe. Australia, New Zealand, possibly. But never the US.
I don't know that it's possible to debate without going down very large, very opinionated rabbit holes. You're very clearly wrong on a number of things, I'm sorry. But it should suffice to quantify it with numbers and trends. Namely that Americans don't leave America for quality of life reasons; millions of foreign immigrants want to and attempt to and many succeed illegally; immigrants try from all over the world, not just its direct southern neighbor, despite the US's relative distance from the rest of the world; even Americans who claim to hate the country never leave.
I understand your perspective and think it's fair. When it comes to people voting with their feet however, you do not represent the reality for most people.
Edit: Additionally, "Western Europeans move to the US in far greater numbers — both proportionally and in absolute terms — than Americans move to Western Europe." 
There is a huge difference between seeing and accepting the bad things, past and present, and hating ones own country. A lot of people I know, that share your opinion, seem to overcompensate for all the bad things. They try to ignore them, and everyone pointing these bad things out has automatically fail to see the good things, thus hating ones country. This is a very slippery slope.
This has also been a constant topic amongst my family, extended family and many friends (mostly european).
My entire family (including me) and extended family immigrated here within the last 10-30 years, yet we all love living here, and have the same sentiment around people who have been born here. They were given such a great opportunity (that we all had to work for), yet most of them throw it away and have little love for the country and what it offers.
I even have family and friends on H1B/student visas who despite all thesese issues, are supporting a lot of these right-wing issues after these protests, which was a bit surprising (considering the ban on the visas)
> "Black ppl have been dehumanized, brutalized, criminalized + terrorized by America for centuries, & are expected to join your commemoration of “independence”, while you enslaved our ancestors. We reject your celebration of white supremacy & look forward to liberation for all. "
Point of clarification: by "our ancestors" he's referring exclusively to his African-descended ancestors, not his European-descended ones.
But the United States didn't enslave his ancestors. England did, and the US inherited it, but made several provisions to end the practice quickly (Congress passed a law as soon as it was able to end the slave trade, and then fought a war that cost many American lives to end it for good). For all of American history, most people did not own slaves.
And before someone says 'well they benefited from it'... well we benefit from cheap, abusive labor practices in China and other Asian countries so get off your high horse. Benefiting does not imply acceptance.
This is a weird bit of historical revisionism. The US slave trade was abolished in 1807, which was not the earliest such a law could have been passed. 1776 was. England ended the slave trade the same year (and slavery had clearly been on the way out since 1772, when the first ruling about slavery being illegal in the British isles was made). This ruling may have contributed to the interest in declaring independence from Britain among wealthy US slaveholders, like for example George Washington.
England then abolished slavery in the entire British Colonies in 1833, the US took another 30 years to free southern slaves via the Emancipation Proclamation, and another 2 years beyond that to enact the 13th amendment.
> For all of American history, most people did not own slaves.
This is irrelevant. The powerful and influential did. The people who had control over the government for the most part did. Think I'm lying? More than 3/4 of the signers of the declaration of independence were slaveholders.
I think this is bollocks. In 1775 the slave owners were British subjects. By 1800 they were US citizens, but they were the same people. They didn't change, their citizenship changed.
The better argument is, they're all dead now. All of the slave owners and all of the slaves are dead. Their children are dead. Their children's children are dead. It has been seven generations.
More than that, the large majority of the current day US population are descended from immigrants who came to the US after the abolition of slavery, and even the large majority of those present during the civil war didn't own slaves. Are we to blame a family who immigrated from Poland during WWII?
The dead are responsible for what the dead have done. We are responsible for what we do.
You’re upset that he focused on the ones who were oppressed rather than the ones who were oppressing? Many Black people have white ancestors but ask how much of that was really consensual and how those children were treated.
Those are separate concepts: we should not condemn children for their parent’s crimes but that doesn’t mean that we should forget that those crimes happened.
In this case it’s especially important because those children were treated very differently from their siblings: a slave owner’s fully white children had full status in society and lived in relative luxury but those borne by slaves inherited their mother’s status. Apologists try to claim that some relationships were consensual but it’s hard to reconcile that with the treatment of any resulting children.
> we should not condemn children for their parent’s crimes but that doesn’t mean that we should forget that those crimes happened.
But then what do you propose to do about it? All of those people are dead. We can't bring them back to life and punish them.
> In this case it’s especially important because those children were treated very differently from their siblings
It was no doubt a very important distinction to the children. I wouldn't want to have to argue it was a very important distinction to modern day descendants seven generations later when that ancestor represents less than 1% of their ancestors from that many generations ago.
And the usual argument is to want to assign guilt if you benefited from a bad thing one of your ancestors did. But having existence is a pretty huge benefit, which makes that argument taste quite sour.
It’s not always 7 generations ago - there was a guy living here until a couple years back whose father was born in slavery - and it didn’t end instantly with the Civil War, or the demise of Jim Crow, or the Civil Rights movement — things like redlining ran into the 1970s and police violence and job discrimination never really stopped. White people can say it ended in the civil war era but there are plenty of people who know they still have to spend time thinking about risks their white peers do not.
He's so oppressed he has like 100x more money than the average white person, while contributing nothing to society. Maybe some whites living in trailer parks should pay him reparations for all his suffering, while he collects checks from Nike.
Grant also sent Custer to South Dakota to wage war and steal land. Once gold had been discovered it was a foregone conclusion that white settlers would therefore get the land, no matter what treaties had been signed. Which lead to a white supremacist eventually carving four presidents visages into Mount Rushmore, in violation of treaties made between the Lakota and the US, and today's arrest of Lakota who were protesting this theft. I doubt the people who tore down the statue of Grant knew any of this, any more than they know the rest of Grant's history. But it's pretty fucking hard for me to get upset about a statue like that being torn down. It's not like it's a one of a kind piece of art, it's just another monument of little significance or interest as an object, only as a symbol of our conquest and unjust killing. When the American revolutionaries tore down statues that were symbols of the the English empire, they were working towards a slightly more just and free society. Tearing down Grant's statues continues in this rich tradition.
In a hundred years, it's likely that the majority of people that know about the early 2000s will look back at Obama's drone strikes that killed innocent families with similar dismay to what we (or is it just me?) see in Grant and his contemporaries.
With running an imperialist nation, it's going to be awfully difficult to avoid doing some really awful things. That doesn't make the evils they perform in our name acceptable.
Why not? It's not like statues are some sacred principle.
And in the Fourth of July, as the US celebrates declaring independence from its past status as a colony, of rebelling against an imperial monarch that no doubt did lots of good, but also taxed them without representation, let's also celebrate our current revolutions against injustice.
We should not idolize people, not even if they did good things. And if in the revolutionary throes of fighting for justice, the wrong statue gets taken down, that is so unbelievably tame and minor compared to what we celebrate on Independence Day.
One right doesn’t cancel out a wrong, or vice versa.
The problem with a statue is that it literally sets something in stone; perhaps these particular statues are being torn down because people don’t think the conversation is over; that there is more to be said, more to be heard, and more to learn.
The main stream media and the elites are supporting the cancel culture. In fact, they fuel it -- both WaPo and NYT published articles about why 7/4 should be canceled. That's okay, as a country needs different voice and people have different political spectrum by nature. What's disappointing, though, is that the conservatives do not have a big enough platform to publish well-argued counter points, even though "conservatives" today is really moderate, even moderate left per the standard 10 years ago.
We don't have a problem of being far-left. We have a problem of imbalanced influence.
Even the moderate automatically label them as far right, and tune them out. I was expecting a platform that can reach out to people with different political views. You know how federalists and anti-federalists debated? Some of them probably hated the opposite group, but they nonetheless share the same platforms to debate.
> People cannot "transcend" past wrongs, so don't do them.
Semantics? I don't care what word you use, but you can absolutely always do better and the beautiful thing about America's founding is that in every respect, it is aspirational and we have aspired to do better. And we have. And we can do better still.
A bit sentimental, but on holidays we can accept that. The bigger problem with this historical account is that it is incomplete. We Americans like to pretend that this story begins with WWII, when the evil Empire of Japan invaded those bucolic isles of the Philippines, whose brave residents were inspired by MacArthur to rise up against colonialism. In reality, this history began in 1898. Americans pretended to ally with the Filipinos against the Spanish, when in reality they only wanted to replace the Spanish as colonial overlords. In the ensuing conflicts and decades of exploitation, hundreds of thousands died.
There was no reason for any of this. America at the turn of the century had no interests in the western Pacific Ocean. American intelligentsia agreed with Mark Twain that the barbarity shamed all of us. Sure, some American sugar companies made some money, and the particular Filipinos favored by American imperialists made some money. I feel an awful precedent was set. Previously our worst barbarities had been limited to the South and the Frontier. At a stroke, they were unleashed on the World. (Seen any news stories about Libya recently?) The event described in TFA seems a small consolation.
The interesting thing is that despite what America did to these Filipino soldiers, they still chose to be American and sacrificed the majority of their life to do so. American immigration really is the ultimate test of loyalty. Makes you wonder how many natural-born Americans would still choose to be American if they had to go through the immigration experience first.
Now that's an idea. People aren't born American citizens but as probationary citizens, and they only become full citizens after fulfilling a series of trials. Imagine what kind of society would emerge from the other end.
> American immigration really is the ultimate test of loyalty.
Frankly, more and more people are starting to wake up to the fact that it's a bullshit test. Partly because immigration really doesn't have to be all that, and partly because of the global...decline of the United States' image since the turn of the century.
When I was a kid moving to the US was the goal, now only a handful of people I know have it at the top of their relocation list (and some have lost interest in even visiting). Canada and the EU are much more popular destinations for people looking to move to a western country.
>decline of the United States' image since the turn of the century.
That seems to be almost universally accepted among American intelligentsia. But as a guy from outside of US, I dare to say it's false, and also built on a false premise. USA as a culture, or as a political power was never especially popular, except for a few particular places. But as an economuc destination it has been since at least the beginning of XX century, and continues to be so. In Russia it is for example a recognized phenomenon - openly anti-US people who would take any opportunity to move across the ocean, and settle there for economic opportunities, simultaneously writing blogs in Russian making fun of the States, and praising mother-Russia from distance. Obviously, for them "image" was never cool, but they are willing to relocate anyway. I'm sure the same exists everywhere. EU, and Canada are popular too, but much less so, and at least in non-EU Eastern Europe + Russia economic migration to the European Union prevails simply because it's cheaper, and practically easier.
> But as a guy from outside of US, I dare to say it's false, and also built on a false premise
As someone who is also not from the US, I dare to say you've entirely misunderstood what I meant. "Image" there is not referring to agreeability or popularity, it's referring to the near-monopoly on global consciousness as the paragon of the successful West which the US held through the latter half of the 20th century - that's what I'm asserting has been slipping over the past couple of decades (more so in the past eight or so years).
The US still an economic powerhouse, but other economic powerhouses have muscled their way onto the stage (largely China, but also the European Union). It's still a financial powerhouse, but there's also plenty of opportunity and business partnerships to be found elsewhere (and it's becoming less and less necessary to actually migrate to the US to take advantage of its wealth). It's still a cultural powerhouse, but others have achieved incredible international popularity as well (just look at the near mind-boggling spread of Korean pop culture across the globe, for example). Countries like the aforementioned Canada offer a much faster, cleaner track to citizenship, and even places like the UAE and some parts of Eastern Europe or Oceania have their appeal for someone simply looking to improve their passport. Of course, there are also factors like the highly polarised political climate and the inadequacies of the healthcare system that make it less than desirable for someone that doesn't like drama or that has health conditions they need to worry about.
In summary there are so many other options for relocation, many of which are now objectively better for a given individual, that the US is quickly becoming "just another country" for plenty of people opportunity-wise.
I made zero assumptions about you personally. I mentioned that it became a cliche in some circles.
>there are so many other options for relocation, many of which are now objectively better for a given individual,
Not so many options unless you are very rich, or your skills are in high demand globally. Which is not typical. In most cases migration works like buying houses: I'd like to have a verandah with ocean view, but there are permissions, and there's price I can afford. US is very on top of the list, but in many countries it's complicated/expensive to get there. It has nothing to do with image, or current political state of affairs in the US, or in general what is in the news.
Canada is great. It’s virtually indistinguishable from America for the typical person.
I don’t know where you’re from, but as a Bangladeshi immigrant to the US, but I wouldn’t emigrate to the EU. 76% of Americans say that a naturalized citizen is a “real American” and just 13% disagree: https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/ct/news/documents/.... In France it’s 55-28. In Italy it’s 41-36. There is no place in the world more welcoming to immigrants than America. Look at what’s happening in the EU. America has been dealing with huge levels of illegal immigration for decades and for the most part we’re still very positive on legal immigration. Europe accepted some refugees from the Middle East like five minutes ago and already right-wing nationalist parties are winning elections left and right.
> There's no way 50% of Brits think gaining citizenship doesn't make you British, unless they don't speak English. That's what the word means!
That's what you think the word means, but a lot of people use "British" and "English" as ethnicity descriptors, and standard language on survey forms includes "white British" as an ethnicity.
I can quite believe that 50% of the population thinks that gaining citizenship still makes you an immigrant; you could probably find a large support for "being born in Britain to nonwhite parents doesn't make you British", and look what happened to Shamina Begum.
I have heard a horrible joke, for which the punch line was "now I'm Blitish." That joke is part of the reason I lump Airstrip One in with Oceania.
(we have our own problems with integration, but as far as I can tell, they diminish greatly in the second generation. Schools are a powerful integrator.)
And to Al-Khwarizmi's point in a neighbouring thread: I much prefer living in a society where people will interrupt their rant to me about "those foreigners" to help a head-cover-wearing dark-skinned mother put her pram on the train and then blithely resume where they left off. That dissonance is hypocrisy in the right direction. "Even a child makes himself known by his doings."
While the data you present are interesting, and I can see how they could be a factor for an immigrant to choose America, I don't think they correlate with welcomeness to immigrants as much as you imply.
In the EU, countries have a relatively strong ethnic identity, with differentiated languages and cultures (some of which are perceived as endangered, in particular by American influence), while America is a melting pot and its culture is less differentiated basically because they have exported it to the globe.
A Spanish person could think that if you don't speak perfect Spanish, eat and cook Spanish food, have lunch past 2 PM, frequent bars, stay out until late, talk loudly and eat jamón serrano, you are not a "real Spaniard", because you are not like them (I'm using hyperbole to get the point through, of course not everyone in Spain does all that, but I hope you get the idea). But does this mean that they won't socialize with you, consider you for dating, or give you a job? Of course there are racists and xenophobes anywhere, but in general, i think the answer is not at all. Many won't consider you a "real Spaniard" -not me, I would say yes to that poll, but many wouldn't- but they will be happy welcoming you, and consider that the cultural differences are a good thing as they can learn from you.
On the other hand, in the US most people will consider you to be a "real American" because in America ethnicities and cultures are much more mixed, so it wouldn't make sense at all to think that you need to have a certain culture or customs to be American. But what's that good for in practice? Probably the cops that kill black people arbitrarily consider them to be Americans (it would be hard to argue otherwise when they have lived in the US for generations), they still hate them and shoot them. I have friends in cities like Baltimore that tell me about totally segregated neighborhoods, what does it matter that people consider their fellow countryman of different races to be American if they don't mingle with them? And that's without even talking about a president who fits more into your own words "right-wing nationalist" than almost any EU president, with an erratic immigration policy that scraps visa programs on a whim, something that I've never seen in Europe.
My feeling is that the reasons for many emigrants throughout the world to choose America are more sentimental (based on the inercia of the US's reputation, romantic ideals in movies, and general hype) than rational. I have seen this live often. I have seen Iranian candidates reject a job offer here to go to America because you know, it's America, to earn much less, have a worse standard of living and be travel banned on a whim of the president a few months after taking the job...
That said, don't get me wrong, I wish you and all the people who emigrate to America the best. It has worked fine for many people and will keep doing so. I just think it's overrated, and other destinations (not just the EU) would work as well for most people. To each their own, though.
Right wing parties won the UK, if you want to call Boris Johnson that. They lost in France, biggly. They lost in the Netherlands. They won some state elections in Germany, if becoming the biggest opposition party in state parliaments without any chance of governing can be called winning (they got more votes than I am comfortable with, so).
But who again held Congress until 2018 and still holds the Senate and the Presidency in the US?
Yeah, the whole thing sounds dangerous and deeply disturbing.
Surely, we need less nationalism and more understanding, not the other way around.
Blind loyalty tests are just a way of controlling people and apply peer pressure. It is a perfect description of an abusive relationship, as well as the standard totalitarian play book. Try:
- ”you aren't born my son but as probationary son, and you only become my real son after fulfilling a series of trials (that I decided arbitrarily to satisfy my arbitrary sense of how you should be)”.
- “you are my probationary spouse, and you only become my real spouse after fulfilling a series of trials.”
I always reflect on this right here when the subject comes up. I first read Starship Troopers as a high schooler in 1999. It impacted me greatly and I took what I wanted to from the book thinking it made me wiser. Upon reflection now 20 years later I think the book is a strong warning against incentivizing civic duty.
A strong sense of civic duty and a respect for law must be value enough without reward for a democracy to remain healthy. I am open to the notion that 20 years from now I will think that 2020 me was equally foolish to 1999 me.
The film has very little to do with the novel, actually. Verhoeven, the director, hated the book:
“I stopped after two chapters because it was so boring … It is really quite a bad book. I asked Ed Neumeier to tell me the story because I just couldn't read the thing. It's a very right-wing book.”
The film is basically intended as parody of fashism, while the book is much more positive about the military and an exploration of an alternative society, where everyone has to do voluntary military service before having the right to vote and hold office (later Heinlein claimed that 95% of the Federal service is civil service, but the book itself seems to imply it’s mostly military).
Personally I find the book much more interesting than the film. While the film is a parody its message is actually not that complex and in my memory seems to me to boil down to “Fashism is bad, mkay”.
In contrast to this, the book is partly deeply problematic, but contains much more original though
and interesting world-building with a political system, which is somewhat orthogonal to the established political dimensions of thinking. Which leads to criticism, when people like Verhoeven lazily project it down to the dimensions, they are familiar with.
Personally in my mind I group this book somewhat together with non-fiction book “Shake Hands with the Devil “ by Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire. As a German the thought that you could have pride in being part of a military felt foreign and distant, for example routinely thanking soldiers for their service is still unthinkable for me and these two books in very different ways made me have more empathy with a perspective where being a soldier for a democratic society is something you can be proud of.
By the way, somewhat fittingly for the original blog post, the main character in the book is implied to be of Filipino descent (but played by a white in the film).
Yep. It was written in a fit of patriotic enthusiasm for the Cold War, and Heinlein was still offering defences of the political system two decades later after his own politics had moved on.
I do think there's merit in reading books that were utterly serious about their ideas as satirising them though. The conquistador heirs, oil barons and philosopher pirates in Atlas Shrugged make so much more sense as parody of how the 'self-made man' tends to accumulate wealth than in a parable about the ills of not enough capitalism
The US went to war against Spain in 1898 and took the Philippine away from Spain. The US promised the Filipinos independence and then reneged on it and fought brutal war against the Filipinos for 14 years.
"amok ‘rasend, wütend, verzweifelt (im Kampf)’, im 19. Jh. vor allem in Lexika bezeugt, im 20. Jh. auch häufiger in literarischen Werken. Ein Frühbeleg findet sich (um 1660) in einer Reisebeschreibung („Amoc welches so viel ist als courage, oder schlag todt“). Amoklauf m. Amokläufer m. (Anfang 20. Jh.)." vgl die Wortverlaufskurve ab 1600.
There was an interesting discussion of the word "amok" with Vincent Bevins on "The Red Nation" podcast last week, starting about 32:30 from the beginning.  Surprise! It was largely colonialist bullshit, even in Indonesia.
> I've re-posted this many times, because it's fundamental to what it means to me to be an American.
I was thinking I was in for something uplifting. Instead I got:
> In 1946, Congress reneged on FDR's promise. Filipino solders who fought for us and their families were not given their promised citizenship, let alone benefits. ... They waited 44 years, until after most of them were dead.
This story is horrible. We betrayed our WWII allies, betrayed people who were rightfully American citizens, in all likelihood just because they were the wrong race. Everyone in this thread is acting like this story is inspiring. I feel like everyone has gone crazy that they think this is supposed to make me feel patriotic. This is an example of America at its ugliest and most prejudiced.
This story isn’t about Truman and the other people who reneged on the promise in 1946–who were all dead by 1992. That’s a very self-centered way to look at this. This is a story about immigrants who loved America so much that they proudly accepted citizenship when it was belatedly conferred to them. What kind of country engenders such love and devotion even in the face of such slights?
Its great that they didn't hold a grudge, but I don't see why I should be moved by it. Of course they were happy, they were finally being given what they were promised. A prisoner being exonerated of a crime they were falsely accused would probably be ecstatic, but hearing the story of someone being falsely convicted hardly engenders feelings of pride in our justice system. I don't see why it should be different in this case. There was no uplifting story about how someone managed to change immigration by fighting for what he believed or anything like that. The story was just "we backstabbed you and 44 years they were happy when we finally removed the knife. Yay us!" I can't muster any positive emotions in this story. I can't see why anyone would feel proud of this.
> Its great that they didn't hold a grudge, but I don't see why I should be moved by it. Of course they were happy, they were finally being given what they were promised.
This is an extremely shallow take. These men emigrated to the US at a time when Filipinos were legally American nationals. They were not citizens, but were already entitled to permanent residency, and their kids were already citizens by birthright. Citizenship was purely symbolic. Why would they be happy to accept a symbolic gesture from a country that wronged them? Maybe it was what they experienced in America in the intervening 40-something years?
As an immigrant, I think many native born people often overlook what America is or what’s great about it. My mom explained to me today what she thinks is great about America. It’s that Americans will stop at a red light in an intersection at 1 am even if the streets are totally empty. America isn’t a collection of policies and programs. It’s people, connected by a culture, norms, beliefs, practices, and ideals. It’s a legal system and a political system that is more than just the outcome of that system with respect to any particular case or policy. And those things are all tremendous blessings. People who stop at red lights on empty streets at 1 am are a blessing. You really cannot understand it if you’ve never really lived without those things. I can totally see why these people who built a life in America would be happy to accept that symbolic gesture of citizenship 46 years later, even if it was long overdue.
You seem to somehow glorify the US a bit too much. Great that you as an immigrant had success. But just be aware that this is not always the case, and that there are a lot of negative aspects about the US, or any other country.
Yes. Asking people to literally give their lives for you on the battlefield, promising citizenship to those who survive, then betraying them until most are dead. Not much to be proud of here, no matter how you spin it.
They were treated arbitrarily by the system for decades, and dealt with it as they could. They are happy that it's over and that they are being recognized for how they worked.
The article saying these people are "proud of the nation" despite it is the weirdest take. You build a life somewhere, you enjoy your community, of course you want the stability offered by getting citizenship!
Arbitrary immigration rules and services make you feel miserable about the administration. It's just that many people in these scenarios are able to make the difference between the bureaucracies, the communities, the people themselves, and everything in between. So they're happy about getting recognized, and happy they won't be torn away from the communities. This doesn't transfer to some sort of 'love for the country' full-throated admiration that that phrase usually implies
(This is just my personal read based on how other people talk about going through US immigration, about general things said about mindsets of people in this kind of limbo, and my personal experiences with immigration systems. I am not a mindreader, but popehat isn't either)
And by focusing on them and declaring this story to be a horror story, we miss out on an important part of the story too.
This isn't just of academic interest to me. A lot of my friends and family didn't feel much like celebrating America's birthday this weekend, and I completely understand why. But wallowing in that sadness and anger leads to defeatism. I would rather see us embrace the totality of America's history, so that we lift up what we ought to do more of, and remember that, in our attempts to build a better country, we do not fight alone.
I think the moral of the story is that America is flawed, however, it eventually does the right thing, as well as other great things. And that's why it engenders so much love/hate.
I think it's very relevant to today's events, where people wants to "cancel" a person, just because of one or two things they did wrong (which may have just been the norm in their days). This is a slightly disturbing trends, as we can supposedly only use perfectionists and saints as role models (are there any?), instead of humans who are naturally flawed.
I am proud of America, the country that produced a great democracy, defeated Nazi Germany - which raised hell on earth and held concentration camps, sent people to the moon, heralded in 70 years of relative peace, spread democracies around the world, launched reusable rockets that landed back safely, and is in the process of confronting China - another country that raised hell on earth and held concentration camps - after realizing its fault.
The USA made and shipped most of the materiel that Britain and Russia used
(Ironically, Stalin supplied Germany via rail with around 1/3 of their supplies until the day of the invasion. Part of the reason that Germany lost was they never fully-mobilized their economy for war. For example, they were still making passenger cars until the end. Love to hear conversations between Hitler and Speer about that.)
Up until March, my office was less than a block from the Paramount theater in downtown Oakland. Once a month there would be a huge naturalization ceremony there as I was walking in to the office. That always did make me feel proud to be "an American", seeing all the newly naturalized people and their families crowding the area.
That's where I was naturalized! I had mixed feelings about being required to go to a ceremony even though all my paperwork was done, but in the end it was really special.
On the way home I went to the Betabrand factory (which was on Cesar Chavez), told them that I had just gotten naturalized and that I wanted to buy some of their Stars and Stripes pants. They thought it was so cute that they created a special discount code for people who have just become citizens.
Another fun thing was walking through the mission, which has a lot of immigrants, people would see the envelope I was holding and yell "congratulations" or even high-five me.
That night my friends took me to a baseball game. It was overall a lovely induction.
Some things are too important to be mere paperwork, and need a ritual to mark them. Graduating university is where this range begins, and taking on the citizenship of another nation is definitely way above that.
This should really be a tradition that all natural born Americans should have when they turn 18 also. I'm not necessarily about nationalism, that road can go down some dark paths, but it is really comforting to know you are a part of something bigger
Two years ago my wife became a citizen, and my son and I got to go watch her take the oath of citizenship in the Paramount with around 1000 other people from almost 90 countries. I have never felt so proud to be American.
The rituals and pride surrounding citizenship, an entirely arbitrary and fictional distinction, never made sense to me. All it is is a way to justify denying things to some people that are granted to others: usually things that are, or should be, human rights, like free movement and due process.
Remember: citizenship is as real as Oz or Wonderland.
These people were exploited which is terrible. That the nation that exploited them was still more desirable to them than their former home is also terrible. That all they got in return for being exploited was what they were initially promised but decades later is terrible
"Everything" is a bit uncharitable. There are people in that story who, when they found out about a historic wrong, did something about it. That's not terrible. There are people who are inspired by that act of doing the right thing, and have gone on to be partisans for righting similar wrongs. That's not terrible.
That it happened is terrible. Ignoring the good that was done so that we can wallow in the bad is also terrible.
The comment to which I am replying is a great example of that. When the bad outweighs the good, it becomes particularly important to make note of the good when it happens.
It's easy to just roll over and say everything is terrible. That's what happened to the people in this story; nobody was willing to try and do the right thing. Then, someone did. It's important to acknowledge the evil, but it's also important to hold up the good and say "Do this. You can make a difference."
Don't roll over and accept the evil as inevitable. It's not.
There's almost 200 comments here but no one that I have seen has actually mentioned who in Washington "did something about it" and Ken's post also left this out.
Hawaii Senators Dan Inouye and Dan Akaka, along with Ted Kennedy were the driving forces for many of the provisions from 1990 to 2010 that sought justice for Filipino veterans. Rob Simmons (R-CT) pushed for the 2003 extension of VA benefits to Filipino vets. Jackie Speier (D-Bay Area) continues to introduce the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act which would extend that to more veterans every session but never advances. The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification bill once had a chance but now also stalls every session. Obama created a program in '16 to allow the family members to stay here while awaiting green card status but Trump ended the program last year.
This reminds me of stories over the last years(?) of afghan/iraqi translators that worked for the US under the promise of citizenship that got massively delayed at least (with immense risk to their lifes).
In general, the final granting of citizienship in this story seems mostly symbolic, similar to the exoneration of Alan Turing, just that at least some of the ill treated are still alive. It's good it happened and it should be encouraged to make amends for past wrongdoings. But it needs to be accompanied with a change in attitude. Otherwise, it's a hollow gesture, like a child saying sorry after hitting someone, because it learned there won't be consequences like that.
I think that's where peoples onlook on this differ. Is it a symbol of a nation going forward, internalizing the values it claims to build upon - or a mostly meaningless gesture in a system that hasn't really changed and would do it all over again.
Personally (as an outsider perspectice), I feel the US is changing, but the forces are pulling in many directions and it's slow. The current US seems to pay lip service only to human rights but embraces it for propaganda, I hope it works someday and the citiziens will hold its own country accountable to that.
Yes, This American Life did a great story on this.
"We’ve fought two wars since 9/11. We got help from tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans—some were targeted or killed because they helped us. We owe these people. We’ve passed laws that say so. So why has it been so hard for us to get many of them to safety?"
I love the ideals that this nation was founded upon, but I hate that we've never lived up to those ideals.
I love that we've moved over time to make this a more perfect union—to move ever closer to those ideals; but I hate how slow this movement has been, and how long it has taken.
I would fight and die for this country if I needed to defend it, but I also want to spend most of my life fighting this nation to make it better.
Strong criticism of something doesn't mean that it's hated—it might mean that it's loved, but very very imperfect. The best way to celebrate the 4th of July—to me—is to reflect on the many ways that this union could be more perfect, and to work on moving us in that direction.
Signs saying 'now leaving the USA' are not saying america has failed to live up to its ideals. It's saying... we don't want to be part of America anymore. That's fine, I'm not knocking you, but this is just revisionism.
I don't reject criticism as unpatriotic. I was made aware of no-knock warrants from Ms Taylor's unfortunate death, and I am against them. I am in favor of most police reform.
I am not in favor of the riots, CHOP, knocking down statues, or continued protests drawing thousands of individuals during a time of pandemic.
It's a joke on a written on a piece of cardboard. I guarantee you the vast majority of people there never thought that they had left the territory or jurisdiction of the United States.
It never was a secessionist movement. That you think that is probably because you never listened to what the people who were there had to say.
That's what I mean when you say you rejected the criticism out of hand. You didn't even listen to the criticism! You heard a completely distorted summary that was pushed by people with polar opposite goals of the protesters. You didn't take the time to listen to the criticisms that were leveled, or their demands, before deciding that they were a secessionist movement.
In general, I find it difficult to accept criticism from anyone taking over public property, whether it be the Bundies or CHOP. That's not calling for reform, that's terrorizing people. I read their list of demands, including abolishing prisons, hiring doctors based on race, and the abolition of the court system. I then decided that abolishing the courts, police, and racial hiring preferences are so far removed from the American ideals, that these are not 'reforms'. This is a radical departure from anything considered American. This is extremism, not reform.
If you're so confident in their demands, why don't you post them? Here's where I got mine from: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/seattle-capitol-hill-autonomo... . If you don't actually think this is what they want you need to (1) establish why the article I linked is incorrect and (2) establish why whatever list of demands you produced is the 'official' one. According to wikipedia, the demands in the daily dot article were posted on Medium by organizers of the protest.
Well, I don't care if people march with weapons... that is their right. But if they're demanding race-based preferences, abolition of government, etc, then I have no problem calling them what they are -- extremists, not reformers.
That isn't hatred for this country. That's a #hashtag.
If you look below the surface the sentiments of many of them seem to be similar to this excerpt from Frederick Douglass:
"Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too, great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory."
22% of Americans use twitter. Most tweets are from 10% of those people. There are many people who yell and scream so loudly on-line that people believe their numbers to be much greater than they are. It frustrates me when someone takes action because "people on twitter are mad". Decisions are being made based on who has the most active thumbs.
No, the argument is 78% of Americans don't use Twitter at all, 20% have Twitter accounts but are not very active, and only 2% are responsible for the vast majority of tweets. In other words, what you see on Twitter, especially when it comes to somewhat more extreme messages, is not representative at all for the US population as a whole.
Absolutely. I loved this article because it captured so much of what America is about and should be about.
I hope we find it in ourselves to right our wrongs and stop the wrongs actively being committed against Americans and aspiring Americans. We’re so far from living up to our ideals, but it is hopeful to remember that we can make progress and have made progress in the past.
People in every US territory are citizens except in American Samoa. They’re not states in the same way as DC isn’t a state, but the people are citizens and enjoy freedom of movement within the US.
Statehood is a complicated issue. For example in Puerto Rico, there have were several referendums and statehood has never carried a majority.
> On November 6, 2012, eligible voters in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico were presented with two questions:
> (1) whether they agreed to continue with Puerto Rico's territorial status and (2) to indicate the political status they preferred from three possibilities: statehood, independence, or a sovereign nation in free association with the United States. A full 970,910 (54.0%) voted "No" on the first question, expressing themselves against maintaining the current political status, and 828,077 (46.0%) voted "Yes", to maintain the current political status. Of those who answered on the second question 834,191 (61.2%) chose statehood, 454,768 (33.3%) chose free association, and 74,895 (5.5%) chose independence.
The plurality, 46%, wanted to maintain the status quo. Less than 35% wanted statehood. And 20% wanted to move in the opposite direction: free association or independence.
There was a 2017 referendum which resulted in overwhelming support for statehood only because it was boycotted by the status quo party.
There are reasons that places like American Samoa and Puerto Rico would not want to become full states- losing a certain degree of autonomy among them (of course, not all who live there feel this way).
Automatic full citizenship might be seen as a stepping stone down a slippery slope towards statehood, at least by those who prefer their current status.
The problem is that many of those "cultural and religious practices" would be unconstitutional if they were a fully incorporated territory. For example, only ethnic Samoans are currently allowed to own land.
That particular mistake is too late to rectify now, unless someone is proposing to relocate 700,000 people. Hell, even just letting them vote as unofficial residents of the nearest state would solve the problem; Maryland can have those votes for federal office without having D.C. yield any of its own authority to enforce its borders.
The article is written in a dramatic fashion, but lacks historical context.
The Philippines was liberated early from the Japanese at the request of Douglas MacArthur. It was not a top military priority, and the planners wanted to skip it, but President Roosevelt authorized the invasion as a symbolic and political goal.
So millions of Filipinos got their freedom from the US. Yes, it was wrong to delay citizenship for a few thousand Filipinos who fought, but in the overall scheme, not that significant.
Until today, many Filipinos want US statehood.
And a lot of other Pacific island nations got their freedom back from the USA, most notably Indonesia.