Change

Change
Turning Over New Leaf

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Way or the Highway






My Way or the Highway




When the Europeans landed in the New World, they certainly encountered hardships. However, often overlooked historically are the enormous opportunities that presented themselves to the first colonists. The foreign explorers had not yet developed an American identity. Thus, they preserved many Old-World traditions. That would change over time as mobility in the new society enabled the settlers to forge new occupations and change their individual social status.

 
Obviously, the commonality of European life established a binding thread among the thirteen British colonies that held them together as a single unit. Nevertheless, geography, natural resources, and diverse climates quickly compelled regional distinctions that manifested themselves to a greater degree as the population increased. The resulting divisions nearly tore the fledgling nation apart in the eighteen century in a manner never dreamed of a hundred and fifty years earlier.

 
Historical repetitions deeply trouble me. Our collective places in the American saga are easily distinguishable. However, in my lifetime, I have never seen our nation so polarized. I am personally satisfied with my never-ending quest to accept other points of view, but I am not certain it is reciprocal. I rarely encounter civil disagreement among American citizens. Instead, there appears to be a cloud of despair over the country I deeply love. Those with which I share this part of the planet apparently fight diversity. Intellectual debate has become fodder for enemy building.

 
Wake up, America. We own no patent on our opinions. Cultivate the seeds of this nation planted by those who preceded us, or our children’s children might be forced to colonize yet a new world.

6 comments:

  1. Alex says.....I do not believe we have ever had an American identity.

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  2. Alex: There was certainly a distinction between the British attitude toward colonialism and the focus of the British colonists settling the New World. If there were no such distinction, we would be speaking properly today.

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  3. Alex says....The colonists slaughtered the Native American tribes.

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  4. Alex: If you do not believe we ever had an American identity, should we blame the slaughter of Native Americans on the British?

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  5. You're right, we are divided. I'm finding it more and more difficult to discuss politics with people with opposing views. I think the media plays a part in this. Reporting has become incredibly biased - on both sides. People seem to be inclined to seek only to have their beliefs reinforced,listening to hot heads, on both sides, who play to people's fears and prjudices.
    I was young during the Vietnam era, but I've heard the divisions were pretty extreme back then...

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  6. #167 Dad: Right on the money. There seems to be no "discussion." That's the way it was years ago, and it is a shame.

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