As the final strains of the immortal words of Francis Scott Key still hang in the air; before the smiles are done, or the handshakes completed; even as the words of congratulation play on the lips of the dignitary conducting the service at my eventual naturalization ceremony I will know one thing ... That in the minds of some, I will not be an American.
"O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"
There is something beguiling about the phrase "Real American". It is embodied in the word "real", endowing the noun, as it does, with overtones of authenticity, belonging, carved from the Rocky Mountains and fashioned throughout the ages, by the True Grit of John Wayne. In a country born of revolution, later to be ripped apart by civil war before a whole could be shaped, real Americans have a determination, a self-sufficiency and an independence that only those imbued with those characteristics from birth, can ever hope to understand.
This nicely summarizes the argument used to counter my points in a recent discussion of US policy and laws. Apparently, according to my debate opponents, my remarks are diminished not because the points made were inaccurate, not based in anything remotely resembling facts or logic, but because I am not, and never can be, a real American.
At a stroke of a debating artifice, a friend and his supporter constructed an entire category of second class citizens, with not even a passing nod to either the history of their own country, or the laws that govern it.
By their line of thinking, James Madison was not a real American, and never could have been. If this metric were to carry any semblance of merit, George Washington was not a real American, and however long he lived his arguments would be submerged under the sheer authenticity of anyone born after 1776.
If ever there were a more perfect ad hominem, I have yet to hear it. The complete relegation of one man's ideas to a permanent underclass; forever elevating my opponents to a level of superiority because of oh, I dunno, the place they were born, the color of their skin, their gender or the nature of their sexuality, or something.
Despite two hundred and fifty years of social development, it seems that even some Liberals are still mired in past attitudes. Unable or unwilling to form an argument, or counter argument, they simply seek to diminish naturalized Americans to some lesser position in the social strata. Maybe we could be considered three fifths of an American?
I am left to conclude, having given the matter some considerable thought, that attitudes such as this are ...