What’s An American?

A friend of mine just posted a long and very moving post about his father who managed to get to America out of the ashes of the Holocaust.  It got me thinking about these white nationalists and the angry Trump voters who want America for the Americans and would shout out the Nazi tainted slogan “America First”.  You want to measure who gets to be here.  How about this?

My father’s ancestors came to New York (what was then called New Amsterdam) around 1690. Dad thought that distant Snodgrass was probably fleeing a charge of horse stealing. I found a reference in a book in Edinburgh to a Snodgrass in that period being prosecuted for the crime of dueling so maybe it was more interesting than being a horse thief. Clearly he was one of those “bad dudes” the President was Tweeting about today.
Whatever the circumstance my family has been here a long time. I had a relative who fought with the Swamp Fox in the Revolutionary War and my Great-grandfather was a Yankee cavalry officer who fought in the Civil War. You can’t get much more DAR then this.  On my mother’s side my grandfather was half Cherokee.  I would point out the irony, but many on the Right seem to be irony impaired.  Perhaps this will help them grasp the concept.
So to these people who think they are more American then everybody else and are slamming the door on desperate refugees — bite me! I’m pretty sure my American credentials are just as good if not better then yours, and more to the point I trying to live up to our American ideals starting with the Constitution you all profess to love that explicitly rejected religious tests, and the laws of this country that banned the pernicious use of national origin to block immigrants.  If you don’t recall who we profess to be —  let me remind you.

2 Responses to What’s An American?

  • Susan Ray says:

    As I told my friend of Iranian blood this weekend, we are all immigrants. (the First Peoples excepted, of course). I am a true Heinz 57 mutt which is as American as you can get. My mother’s family came to Georgia in 1690 (must have been a good year), which probably means they were convicts or indentured servants. Another bunch landed in Virginia. All fought in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. These bunches added a Cherokee to the mix and ended up in Texas when the South was destroyed. My father’s side came from Bavaria after the Civil War because he was tired of being a gardener on someone else’s land and homesteaded in Independence Kansas (just like Pa Ingalls). My grandmother was born in Eucha, Indian Territory, before Oklahoma became a state. The point of all this geneology is to say that I have no right to say who should and shouldn’t be here. Someone in my past took a long, nasty sea voyage leaving behind everything known to try for a better life. I can’t turn away another human who wants to do the same.

  • Steve Halter says:

    Exactly. My family came over from various places between 1633 and 1868. Some of them were fleeing from wars or persecution. Some of them got exiled. All sorts of reasons. America is built on immigrants.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *