Patrick J. Buchanan is a conservative, political voice in the United States today. The article Deconstructing America is from his 2007 book, Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart. I chose this article because it is one of the ones my group looked closely at in class, and I feel like I understand it more than other articles we read after talking it out with them.
“The United States, the greatest republic since Rome and the British Empire may be said to have risen from that three-cornered fort the Jamestown settlers began to build the day they arrived. But that republic and that empire did not rise because the settlers and those who followed believed in diversity, equality, and democracy.” I read this part of his article, and it just totally made me rethink America. Diversity, equality, and democracy were three things that America was founded for. But in true practice, the settlers did not truly believe in any of those characteristics. It was an “us-them” kind of thing. English settlers believed in their superiority in the Christian faith, culture, and civilization and rejected any differences with cannons and swords. And America has continued to challenge different groups throughout history, just in different ways.
Buchanan says “America is today less a nation than an encampment of …….. politics and power.” And I realized that he’s totally right. We learned the definition of a nation is my Pols class, and it says “a nation is a grouping of people who share real or imagined common history, culture, language or ethnic origin.” When the colonists first came over and forced their beliefs and culture onto other groups, we were a nation. A messed up one. But, we were united. The United States is, today, the farthest country from a nation. What once held us together, today pulls us apart. We have no common language, no common faith, no common heritage anymore.
We argue that diversity is a good thing. “Be yourself,” “Do you,” is advertised from fast food choices to what we wear on our bodies. But Buchanan argues that diversity drives us apart when it is taken to far. And there will always be those radical people out there who cross the silver line. He says “we are fighting a culture war.” And all you have to do is watch to news at 4, 5, or 6 o’clock to know he’s telling the truth.
Buchanan asks his readers “if we have no common faith and are divided by morality and culture, and are separated by ethnicity and race, what holds us together?” And it’s true. If we have nothing holding us together, nothing that we all agree on, how is anything ever going to get done? The truth is: it won’t get done. You see it happen in Congress all the time. Good bills get shot down just because they were proposed by a Democrat, and the Republicans have the majority, or vice-verse.
I do not know how I feel about us all being the same. I don’t think it would be right to say “forget your culture, you’re one of us now.” But at the same time I feel like we need some kind of common ground to get things done, not just in law making, but in every aspect of life- from helping the homeless to stabilizing the economy.