I’ve been thinking about American culture amid all this talk about Steve King defending his views on white nationalism and calling himself an “American nationalist” as well as Donald Trump’s recent tweet taken from an editorial by Pat Buchanan that says we have to stop the immigrants at the border:
….Border is eventually going to be militarized and defended or the United States, as we have known it, is going to cease to exist…And Americans will not go gentle into that good night. Patrick Buchanan. The great people of our Country demand proper Border Security NOW!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019
In Pat Buchanan’s article that Trump quotes, Pat also says this: “The more multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual America becomes — the less it looks like Ronald Reagan’s America — the more dependably Democratic it will become.”
You can clearly see all the lines being drawn here – the Wall is needed to prevent the country from being multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, and multilingual. Because all of those things go against what “America” is really about.
Which made me think: What is American culture?
For some, it’s cowboy hats, pickup trucks, apple pie, hamburgers, and rock and roll. However, for me, it’s different.
To explain, I need to tell a story about when some friends of mine were visiting from Greece.
It was March, and they were going to head to Chicago for the weekend. It was still not quite spring, and they weren’t sure what they were going to do, but after a long Minnesota winter, they wanted to get away to the big city. It just happened that they would be in Chicago on March 17th.
“Holy crap, you guys can go to the St Patrick’s Day parade! There’ll be green beer, lots of live music, and they even dye the river green!”
The Greeks, however, did not share my enthusiasm. “But we’re not Irish.”
And it was at that point I had a revelation.
I’m not Irish, but I celebrate St Patrick’s Day. I’m not French, but I celebrate Mardi Gras. I’m not Mexican, but I’ll celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I’ll celebrate any holiday – any excuse for a party.
And that’s the thing. Most Americans aren’t necessarily those cultures, but that won’t stop us from finding an excuse to celebrate them. It’s an inherently American thing to take stuff from other cultures and embrace it as our own and celebrate them.
This week, Donald Trump served hamburgers (or as he might call it, “hamberders”) to the visiting Clemson Tigers and said “It’s all good stuff. Great American food.”
But for me, the greatest American food is the street taco. I mean, you take a tortilla, stuff it with barbecue beef, and top it with kimchi. A perfect meld of Mexican, American, and Korean cuisine in one. Do you think you’d ever find a street taco in France? England? Russia?
In conclusion, for me at least, it’s our multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, and multilingual culture that makes us strong. It’s what makes us American. And we don’t need a wall – a real one at the border or a perceived one in the minds of Americans – to prevent that.