In the simplest way to understand choices, you can say that there are always two paths; Coke or Pepsi, Black or White, Male or Female, etc.
Everything after that involves complication and obfuscation.
A lot of my futuristic writing here on Vocal Media might involve some cliched descriptions of our society. But, I always try to mention the disillusionment many people here and around the world about our patriotic self-aggrandizements.
At the same time, I am a true believer in this country. I have nowhere else to go. That's why I serve in various capacities of civilian defense of the homeland.
The simplest question in this regard might be, do you consider yourself to be an American, or a foreign national? After that, it gets very very complicated.
We continue to benefit overall as a unique home on planet earth for immigrants: those who presumably left their home country to seek a better life elsewhere, or were sent to America by their home countries.
I know of no other country in the world that accepts immigrants from every other land.
Those who keep trying to re-define America might study the latest census data, the newest swing states, the generational shifts in thinking. They never seem to mention the things about our country that still seem to stay the same throughout our history, those unique defining characteristics.
The longer you, and people from your home country, make a home in the United States, the more you might start to self-describe as "American". So there are elements of "seniority" in obtaining the privileges of being "American". This form of seniority is not a legalistic form of seniority, but something that happens in a different dimension.
Just as people strengthen their faith in their God over time, Americans tend to strengthen their loyalties to their country over time. Whereas in the past I might have described myself as some for of "Indian America", these days when I tell people online that I'm from "Bakersfield, California", they don't ask me for further particulars.
Perhaps it is because of something I actually credit to Ivanka Trump, for some unknown reason: the idea that has been fundamental to the Trump Administration as whole: first start by knowing who you are, then we can worry about what you want.
The American Constitution, outside of Covid19 restrictions, guarantees us the right to associate freely amongst ourselves. So, outside of duplicity or disloyalty, there really should be no material consequence of admitting to the world your self-identity, in sociological terms.
Yet, as I mentioned, there are complications. Those who, even through generations, keep their primary ties with their home countries. They might have arrived here as Colonial Powers, rather than settlers, and never really become "Americans".
America has a peculiar history: I never seem to understand the wars we wage. The one blemish in our history seems to have been the Vietnam War, but that was also really a war for independence by Vietnam from their French Colonists.
At the same time as the Vietnam War, India was fighting for Independence from England, and the State of Israel was just being formed.
I tend to believe that the more you self-identify as "American", the more you identify with "freedom fighters" over Colonial Powers.
In the news today, we hear of China extending its influence like the "new policeman" of the world, a strange sort of flattery of our historical role.
Yet, even as America come closer to understanding the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, we progress into better ways of relating with other nations around the world, and other nationals within our borders.
There is neither glory nor riches to be found in the police business. In my opinion, it has been mostly a high stakes responsibility for the American armed forces.
The real risk is not that we lose our role as "world policeman", but we cede our unique national identity as a place for everyone to find refuge by denying security to nations outside our boundaries that might be facing new colonial bullies.
As long as we as citizens and we as a national superpower, understand our unique history, Constitution, and role in the world, we can return to the days when people suffering from unbearable cruelties could rely on us to literally save them. I can see no other enduring, unique role in the world for our enduring, unique nation. There will never be another country that can be better trusted to save the tired, the poor, the hungry, the oppressed.
If we turn our heads to the basic images of human indecency that we see around the world, we will continue to degrade ourselves as a nation, and devalue our Homeland.
About the Creator
Samir Goradia grew up in Queens, New York, and attended The Bronx High School of Science/
He resides in Bakersfield, California, where he is involved in the transition to Commercial Space Travel; and also disaster relief with FEMA.