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Black Lives Matter

July 20, 2021

Of course they do. Black Lives Matter, which has an element of a corrupt organization, mostly has brought a real struggle to national conversation. But who do you have the conversation with? Yes, I have black friends, but we talk about friend stuff. I don’t want inelegant, often not-fully-formed ideas to harm a relationship. I’m happy to respond if it’s instigated, but it seems gauche to expect my friends to represent some black ideal. Fortunately, I have a blog for this stuff.

The question I’d want to ask is: Where do you feel your American Identity begins?

The Thirteen Colonies America's Beginning. Who were the First People in  America? One may think that Christopher Columbus was the person in America,  but. - ppt download
For All Americans!

I would hope with at least the Mayflower. Definitely the Revolution. But please, please, please, don’t let it begin with Slavery.

My family did not come over on the Mayflower, but it is the beginning of my American Identity. Much of my easily-identified family came over after the Civil War. Some could argue that my cultural identity begins in Ireland or Norway, but I don’t identify as Irish or Norwegian in any cultural way. I don’t know their cultures. I’m an American. (I don’t care for the terms African American, Asian American, Native American. We’re all Americans, why modify it?)

Slavery is the greatest national evil we’ve ever embraced, yet even at the founding of our country, it wasn’t fully embraced. The ability to change the Constitution was included specifically to enable the abolishment of slavery. And end it did.

Abolition meant everyone born here is a fully-invested American. Certainly, not everyone was always treated that way, but the fact of the matter is that every free person who is an American citizen owns the entire ideal of America. Freedom.

The ideal falls short far too often. But freedom isn’t meant to be easy. It is to be fought for, and yes, some have to fight harder for it. Not all of those people are black.

Here’s one of those half-formed thoughts. Today’s black people have more in common with our forefathers than they do with slaves.

Is where our identity begins really that big of deal? YES!

I imagine my great great grandfather Ole first stepping foot on American soil. The excitement! The bindings he sought to escape fell off, their weight suddenly absent. Ole knew he could be anyone in America! What he worked for would be his. I’m sure he quickly found out that it wasn’t that easy. Maybe they didn’t speak English. Maybe they didn’t have the skills or fortitude they’d need to succeed, but they worked hard, learned skill and gained fortitude from the struggle.

As his great great grandson, I didn’t have the immediate excitement. Freedom that was free isn’t as keenly felt. Yet as I learned about the promise of America, I did get excited.

I want that for black people. To begin your American identity with slavery is to begin with oppression. That is not who you are. You are as the founders were. If the color of their skin bothers you, imagine them in the dark. We’re all the same color in the dark.

You are an American. Like all of us, you have to build skills, learn fortitude, turn your personal story into strength. The forces against success are strong, but as an American, you have the ability to be stronger. Ole didn’t ask that it be easy, just possible.

For you, American, it’s possible. Work hard. If you have to, work harder. With every beat down, remember it’s possible. That’s what we all have as Americans.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anderson Robert permalink
    July 21, 2021 6:56 am

    I can’t agree more, well said

  2. July 21, 2021 10:05 am

    I know I’m not the target of your conversation here as far as comments go, but yet, I am. I am an American and I am for Americans of every distinction. A pot that has its contents melted together looks unified – like one mass. I like that. My ancestors came mostly from England before yours did. That doesn’t matter. My grandfather worked hard and had to jump from job to job all of his life. I don’t know why. I never thought to ask my dad about the nitty gritty details. But, work he did and hard, too. He instilled a strong work ethic in my dad, who never finished high school mostly because he was working along side of his father. Both of these men fought in the world wars. They knew freedom was worth fighting for. When my dad came home from the war, he got a job and somehow, by the grace of God, didn’t have to jump around from job to job like his father. The freedom to work for wages is part of our liberty. Work. Work yourself up to a better position and then keep working. I think the work ethic is part of our heritage. Our forefathers risked a lot and worked for a lot. Fortunately we don’t have to risk as much as they did, but we should work. Lamenting the past is not helpful. Remembering the past and realizing how far we have come as a nation is. My American identity is built on that and the Judeo/Christian values that our forefathers built into the Constitution.

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