We’re Americans, Not Hyphens

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When the census taker visits consider withholding information until you get some of those changes promised in the last election. Remember “changes we can believe in”? We can certainly believe the census is important to decide what political representation we allegedly get, but without substantial change that representation will continue to be for corporate capital and Israel far more than for us. And that’s whether we identify as Americans or consent to being diminished into minority classification. In fact, if you are forced into hyphenation rather than full citizenship you might consider renouncing the whole charade until you become a total American without hyphenated labels that make you part of a fragmented America. Among the dictionary definitions of the word “hyphenated” placed before “American” is this one: “citizens formerly suspected of having conflicting loyalties”. Oh?

The census counts us as members of the ultimate identity group: the nation. We are collectively more than 300 million Americans, not hyphens. Wars are not suffered or fought nor are taxes paid by hyphenated citizens. Real material barriers separate a minority at the top of society from the great majority below but they are made nearly invisible. Why? In order to keep immaterial separations of race, ethnicity or religion in our minds so that we disregard those of economic class. We carry a massive and growing public debt which is not hyphenated by ethnicity or race but is borne by a majority made to pick up the crippling burden for a wealthy minority and put off the day of reckoning of a worse recession or depression. Will the census count help us distribute the cost of empire more equitably? How many dollars, lives and freedoms will we give up to keep second class citizenship as the disabled birth right of a supposed democratic majority of Americans? How many more hyphenated members will we send to congress? To join or form a hyphenated caucus that follows the un-hyphenated majority leaders in support of corporate capital and Israel? Will the hyphens before their national identity label make us a better America? Or much worse?

We should pay higher taxes when we make more money, not because of a socially imposed or identity group label listed on a tax form. And we should pay less tax when we make less money, not when we are identified as genetic or national subcategories of citizen. Isn’t it about time we became one united nation, as our affirmative action president claimed we were? And not only in rhetorical theory but in actual practice? Just because Obama’s actions totally contradict his words is no reason for us to emulate his behavior. And when we acknowledge ourselves and thereby become full citizens of America, we ought to demand serious changes to bring reality into harmony with our ideals and belief systems. Those are presently honored only in private while social reality tosses them into a deadly trash heap that threatens to bury us all in a global sewer.

When we profess loving respect for our fellow beings – at religious gatherings or holiday celebrations if not when we’re in market combat at the mall – we might consider bringing our actions into balance with those ideals and beliefs. Having hundreds of military bases in other countries and conducting an expanding madness dubbed a war on terror is hardly the way to make friends and influence people, let alone spread peace and democracy. And creating new terror suspects out of several hundred million humans who look or act “Arabic” or “Islamic”, according to the hybrid president’s recent action, is hardly the way to gain global support from more than a billion Muslims. Nor is submitting travelers to the electronic molestation of body scanning which offers great profit potential for one company but will cause greater loss of freedom and democracy to all travelers, whether they bear hyphens before their nationalities or not. If we wish to further abuse and alienate people and drive more of them into acts of frenzied retribution against us, this might be seen as brilliant. That would be if our hyphenated labeling is accepted and due to real “conflicting loyalties” that means we don’t really give a damn about our own nation and our own people. Hmmmm.

Qualifying our nationality is just another language distortion that covers real problems with cosmetic verbiage, or minimizes serious disorders with catch phrases or misnomers to describe them. Does warfare’s mass murder become worse if we call it genocide? Do those who die when they’re bombed or invaded feel nicer if they are called collateral damage and not murder victims? Is the death toll easier to take if it isn’t called genocidal? Is someone beaten to death by a crazed assailant feeling better if that murderer is called hate criminal? And are the millions who died in world war two somehow more peaceful and less dead at having perished in something called a “just war”? All this terminology serves to do is make horror and bloodshed somehow more acceptable when cleansed by language distortion, or worse when given a “terror” title.

We are not more or less citizens of our country because we are forced to accept what passes for minority status and the longer we tolerate such distortions of language the longer we will suffer as minorities. In reality, we the people are supposed to be the ruling power in this democracy. We cannot assume control of anything as long as we accept control of nothing, beginning with our own identity. Maybe this census can help us clear up some thinking about who we really are so that we might begin acting like the society we want our America to be. Wouldn’t that be a change many of us could believe in?

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