Two recent articles, 1) Can Dual Citizens Be Good Americans? and 2) Whites Account for Under Half of Births in United States, illustrate both how far we’ve come as a mature, liberal democracy, and how we still have a long way to go. (We’re not there yet because we’re still writing articles like these.)
The first article, in the form of a debate among mostly college professors, raises the question of the meaning of citizenship. Does citizenship somehow mean that one “belongs” to, is a citizen of just one country, and if so how then can one have dual citizenship?
The idea that somehow one belongs to this or that country, “my country right or wrong,” and one cannot belong to more than one, is really an unproved assumption. Why is it assumed that citizenship has to be of just one country? The assumption is without basis.
I would assume, quite to the contrary, that single citizenship, a kind of ultimate belonging to a single country, is absurd. Countries are impermanent, arbitrary, represent at best only historical and geographical separations. If there is single citizenship, or ultimate belonging, it has to be not to a single country, but to the human race.
Isn’t this the “citizenship” that counts most of all. For we are all of the exact same species, Homo Sapiens. And in that sense there is only one nation, the nation of the peoples of the earth. Things might have been different if the Neanderthals and other early Homos had survived. But they didn’t.
The wisest of humans have always understood this, and even before modern science has shown it to be true, that nations are at best artificial arrangements that are constantly changing and evolving as we better understand how best to live together. The frontiers between nations are lines that tell us more about the geography of the earth than about the people who live there.
Most people, however, still don’t get it. Most people continue to believe that their country, say France, somehow holds their identity. But they are much more than that identity, much more even than the cheeses of Normandy, the wines of Bordeaux, and the perched villages of Provence, and I love all these things.
When cheese, wine, and village life and such replaces a people’s ties to others, those from the Maghreb, say, or fromWest Africa, that’s when we all, and in this instance the French, have a problem. And in spite of what it may seem at the moment we can bear the loss of our cultural icons to those of Africa, even our jobs to Asia, but we can’t survive the loss of our common humanity.
The movement of peoples over the past hundreds and thousands of years ought to have made it clear that the present division of the world’s surface into 195 plus entities called nations is totally artificial, mostly stemming from haphazard and arbitrary historical events, and is certainly not a basis for determining our identity, nor how we ought to live.
And in fact most of the disputes in today’s world stem from people placing their ultimate belonging to their tribe, even when in most of the nations of the world today that “tribe” is almost impossible to identify. What is the French “tribe”? Or what is the American “tribe.”
You see what I mean. There is nothing there, and if you go back far enough, you’ll uncover only a constant stream of people coming originally from just one source, probably somewhere in Africa.
So to debate the merits, the rightness, or wrongness of dual citizenship is just silly. If people by holding citizenship in more than one country want thereby to retain their own history, keep their connections with the several or more lands and countries that they or their ancestors have come from, or for any other reason, what could be wrong with that?
Nations, and in this instance the United States, should not oblige their citizens to hold single citizenship. Here for once we seem to have done the right thing by allowing dual citizenship, which by the way all of my children, grand children, and wife possess.
But the greatest obligations, the greatest attachments that all of us have should stem from our being, first and foremost, citizens of the world. In fact, let people choose their individual citizenships, as they choose their clothes. Being human, with all that that entails, not being American, is what should get their concentrated attention.
It’s also trivial as in the other article mentioned to make much of Hispanic and non-white births in the U.S. now outnumbering “white” (whatever that means) births. Do I need to say it again. Only of importance is what the people who are born here, or born anywhere else and come here, legally or illegally, do with their lives while they are here.
Nations, if they do have a role to play, ought to be only concerned with how they can help the people who now happen to reside within their arbitrary boundaries become what they are meant to be, that which means, fully human.
And we are getting better at this. For we no longer enslave the Blacks, exclude the Chinese, and hold the original Americans on reservations. And why? Simply because we are finally recognizing, helped greatly by the findings of modern science (not by religion), our common humanity.