I wonder how many Americans, listening to President Bush bringing his too-little, too-late immigration address to a close, felt like he ran out of track when he concluded: "We honor the heritage of all who come here ... because we trust in our country's genius for making us all Americans, one nation under God" -- end of speech. Every allegiance-pledging American, of course, on hearing the phrase, "one nation under God," automatically adds "indivisible," not to mention "with liberty and justice for all."
The president did not.
It's likely that Bush simply didn't wish to sign off with the final words of the Pledge of Allegiance, which would have been out of place. Still, he invoked the pledge, and ended up omitting "indivisible." Purposeful or not, the omission is apt. We -- if I may say "we" to indicate the United States of America -- are anything but "indivisible" at this sorry point in history, and, as a perilous result, we think and we act less and less like a "nation."
A nation has borders and defends them. "We" do not. Otherwise, building a fence against an unprecedented invasion by Mexico wouldn't be considered a harsh and radical position in the political mainstream. A nation has laws and upholds them. "We" do not. Otherwise, the Babbitts of the business world wouldn't illegally build American commerce on the backs of law-breaking (and ill-paid) aliens, and seek their mass legalization (along with their families). A nation defines itself as a nation.
"We" certainly do not. We are, as we are endlessly told, a Nation of Immigrants, a concept that blows to smithereens the unique nature of the "nation" to which immigrants have traditionally assimilated: the European-derived, mainly Anglo-Saxon polity, born of the Enlightenment and extraordinarily blessed by Providence, which the current president is now rapidly phasing out.
Of course, long before immigration finally became The Big Issue (thanks, Tom Tancredo; thanks, Minutemen), the nation of "We the People" had become a confederation of "We the Peoples," an amalgam of groups professing or tolerating multiculturalism, sharing a common welfare state, and participating in an ever-burgeoning economic zone that stretches from the People's Republic of China to the peoples' repositories of Wal-Mart.
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