Americans Torn on Issue of…America

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As with everything else, Republicans and Democrats are divided about what it means to be “American,” according to a new poll from the Associated Press. The survey found that Republicans are much more likely to say that America’s core identity can be found in the culture of Christianity and the beliefs of the Founding Fathers while Democrats believe that America is inseparable from its history of immigration and ethnic diversity.

From the AP:

About 65 percent of Democrats said a mix of global cultures was extremely or very important to American identity, compared with 35 percent of Republicans. Twenty-nine percent of Democrats saw Christianity as that important, compared with 57 percent of Republicans.

Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to say that the ability of people to come to escape violence and persecution is very important, 74 percent to 55 percent. Also, 25 percent of Democrats said the culture of the country’s early European immigrants is very important, versus 46 percent of Republicans.

The poll did find some areas of agreement, however. The majority of respondents, regardless of party affiliation, felt that cultural touchstones like a fair justice system, the rule of law, constitutional freedoms, and the ability to live the American dream were central to the country’s identity. And 70% of respondents agreed, perhaps sadly, that the country is in danger of losing its identity – even if not everyone agrees about what that identity might be.

If you’re reading this and wondering, “Hmm, so who’s right?”…well, the AP is more than happy to tell you. Not in so many words, perhaps, but even a dim-witted reader can reach the conclusion to which the press agency points. They call on political science professor Patrick Miller to explain what you’re seeing in the divide. Miller says the “results reflect long-standing differences in the U.S. between one camp’s desire for openness and diversity and another’s vision of the country grounded in the white, English-speaking, Protestant traditions of its early settlers.”

And already, you can feel that little tug in the “right” direction. Oh, so the choices are “loving kindness to all” and “some kind of backwards white supremacy”? Hmm, well then…

The AP then helpfully gives us some examples of when this cultural divide came to a head in America’s history, “such as when lawmakers barred Chinese immigration beginning in the 1880s or when bias against Catholic immigrants and their descendants bubbled up through a long stretch of the 20th century.”

Miller then tells us: “Our sense of identity is almost inseparable from the subject of immigration because it’s how we were built. Given what we are and how we’ve come about, it’s a very natural debate.”

Democrats are right, Republicans are wrong, nanny nanny boo boo, impeach Trump.

They don’t actually use that line, but they may as well have.