Who Is an "American?"

June 6, 2006

This article is reprinted from the May 22 Special Edition of "The Worker."

George Bush, in his May 15 speech on immigration, presented his views on what makes an "American." Bush said: "We must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples. The success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society, and embrace our common identity as Americans. Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly, and an ability to speak and write the English language."

Bush's definition of "American identity" exposes him as an advocate of racism and national oppression.

The U.S.A. is a country, defined by its geographical boundaries, within which many peoples and nationalities reside. Bush's claim that the "melting pot" makes us "one nation" is the open denial of the rights and equality - even the existence - of the Puerto Rican people, the Mexican people, the Native peoples and others. His insistence that the "American identity" is defined by the English language is a further attack and racist incitement against the minority peoples.

Bush's definition of "American identity" brands him as a fascist.

By declaring that a person must accept "shared ideals" to be considered an "American," Bush, in the manner of a feudalist or a Hitler, has set an ideological criteria for citizenship. One of the most elementary human rights is freedom of conscience - the right of every human to think for herself/himself and to espouse her/his own ideals. Everyone living within the boundaries of the U.S. is an "American" - with equal rights and equal responsibilities.

As for George Bush's "ideals," which include imperialist war, racism, and exploitation, he "shares" them with only a tiny percentage of the country - the capitalist exploiters and their supporters.

Bush's May 15 speech again shows how the capitalist politicians are inciting and using an anti-immigrant hysteria to attack all the American people. They are inciting racism and trying to increase the oppression imposed on the minority peoples. They are foisting fascist ideology on the country and demanding allegiance to their "ideals" of war, racism, exploitation and oppression.

No! George Bush has nothing to say about the real identity of the American people - this great family of nationalities. This identity is continually being created by the lives, convictions and struggles of the masses; it is being created in the struggle against the racism and fascism of George Bush and the capitalist government. It is being created in the struggle for the rights and emancipation of all.