What nationality are you? Fifty years ago, most Americans, without hesitation, would answer this question by identifying their family roots; most all of us immigrating from a Western European country — particularly England, Italy, Germany, Poland and Ireland.
When asked this question today, most Americans are at a loss for an answer since most Americans by this time can no longer identify just one or even two countries of origin. In fact, more and more Americans have to throw their hands up in total dismay, being children of so many diverse generations of parents. Consequently, so many Americans have little interest in trying to identify the many countries of their ancestors.
America is liberated by its diversity; not dominated by European culture or weighty traditions, but enjoying open-ended progress. We are a non-judgmental, diversified culture. However, now with the availability of DNA, some families seek their genealogy. This interest demonstrates that some Americans yet today are still curious to know the plurality of their family roots over the past two or three hundred years.
One thing we Americans have to confess — we are progeny of immigrants from many foreign countries. Adding to the original dominance of European immigrants are those from Africa, the Orient, and India as well as the recent surmounting influx from Mexico.
Gradually gelling into one people compels the loss of ties with countries of origin. We have gained a single national identity and commitment as Americans.
Today there are but a few remaining nationalist communities such as a “Little Italy” or a “German Village” or a “Chinatown” or a “Swiss Colony”. These isolated groups usually seek to maintain undefiled ancestral bloodlines and customs. and are staunch Americans. But over all our America is a “polyglot” — a through mixture of people from around the world; a compilation like no other country in the world. We are a hybrid people who have come together. Americans are an amalgamation.
We are the full gamut of diversity in size, shape and color. We stand before the world as a “nation of nations”.
This huge mix of the people of the world within the borders of one country has created a nation like no other — a mixture of many cultures, traditions, genes, religions and politics. We are a unified diversity unique to the world — “Ex Pluribus Unum,” as we read on our money.
Our U.S.A. might be compared to the Apostle John’s vision of heaven as biblically recorded in The Book of Revelation [7:9], “And then I saw a vast multitude too great to count, from every nation, people, tribe and language…”. This heavenly scene is our joy dispelled today in America by political leaders abandoning America’s unity; obsessed with a venomous reciprocity of political hatred –trampling our sweet land of liberty.
The Rev. John Burkhart Ph.D., is a retired Episcopal priest and retired professor of psychology. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org