When did we stop becoming Americans first?
I came to the United States as a teenager with a suitcase in hand in search of the American dream. Through hard work and determination, I made my own American dream come true. I followed the laws of this great country down the path to becoming an American citizen. I am and will always be proud to be an American.
America is and has been a melting pot for the world for over two centuries. People from all corners of the globe have traveled across oceans to jump into the pot and be melted into an American citizen. It clearly states in our Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal.” Man, defined by Webster’s dictionary as “an individual human,” are all created equal, yet I fear we are slowly slipping away from equality as we fall into different categories of man.
White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Latino, Arab, Lebanese-American, African-American, Irish-American, Korean-American, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Republican, Democrat, Progressive, Libertarian, and the list goes on and on. All labels that, instead of defining us, are being used against us to divide us.
Our heritage is something we should all be proud of and celebrate, but not by dividing us into different kinds of Americans and exalting some over others. This isn’t what brings America together, it is what tears America apart. It is a road this country has been driving down for a long time. America has grown, matured, and been sculpted by our mistakes and experiences. That is a big part of why America is so great and such a draw to those outside of it. Yet, this long road has had many turns, some with deep darkness and others full of light, but overall moving us forward.
Over the past couple of years, America seems to have turned toward one of those dark bends in the road. Our country is becoming divided even further as two distinct ideologies are pushed by political leaders and the media. Instead of our political leaders in Washington D.C., coming together to find common ground, they attack each other relentlessly and further push the wedges of division among the people.
We, as Americans, must respect our differences and work together to make our country an example to the world. An America where we are Americans first, willing to put in the sacrifice and hard work to keep this country the greatest country the world has ever known. We can’t be one that lashes out at each other because of our differences, but one that comes together in spite of them.
Making accusatory allegations of racism for those that don’t agree with you is oppression and should have no place in the land of the free. Hundreds of thousands of people died for us to have that right. Let’s not become like the nations we have escaped.
So, I ask you, are you willing to look past what makes us different and see each other for what we all have in common? We are Americans. Together we can make this country even better.
— Del. Sid Saab
The writer, a Republican, represents Anne Arundel County’s 33rd District in the House of Delegates.