The supreme call of a nation is to protect and promote the well being of its members. We as humans have moved toward larger and larger social circles with the purpose of defending ourselves against outside aggression. But sometimes the challenge to this call is generated from within. The aggressor to this sovereign purpose is born from a misguided sense of nationalism. It rises externally in the form of racism and xenophobia but in the end is a revolt against the very set of ideas that brought these individuals to believe that their own perception of nation is the correct one. Using the very liberties that have given us all a sense of group and identity, they rebel against freedom of speech, of the press, and the right not to be injured because of an expressed ideal or belief. Taking advantage of this, they promulgate a limiting and antiquated concept of nation in which external factors such as race, mother tongue, cuisine, costumes and even clothing dictate who is a member and who is an intruder.
What creates a nation is a set of common beliefs shared by all its subscribing individuals. It goes beyond sectarian tribalism and racial borderlines. It encompasses a group of ethical and philosophical ideas that are regarded by the holders as core elements of what constitutes a filter through which their own perspective and experiences may be perceived. Admission to a nation can be multilayered, multi-step and sometimes multi-generational, as well as a psychological, philosophical and behavioral single-generational adaptation. What makes us Americans is precisely the core agreement embedded in the basic principle of our inalienable right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The color of our skin does not make us Americans, nor our religion, language or geographical location. It is not the size of our bank account, the brand of our car, or our political affiliation. What makes us Americans is our moral compass, pointing to the respect of all individuals to achieve their dreams, to freely pursue their happiness and to live a long, fruitful and healthy life. It is in the utmost interest for the preservation of the American nation to generate, promote and continue this ideal as a moral imperative.
It is becoming evident that this election is above selecting a president or economic policy. This is an election for the survival of the idea of America as each one of us understands it. Even if the idea of America differs from one individual to the other, the rules of political civility that make the experiment of American self-government possible, are clear to all. The American nation can and will show the people of the world that democracy can also be healing. And even more so when the very idea of America is hanging in the balance of the most American platform.
Each and every human being can have an idea of America. But only three hundred and thirty million get to call themselves Americans. It is the very same idea of America that inspired a Cleveland-born boy to wake up in the middle of the night at the age of twenty-four to create the basic tenets of Superman, champion of the oppressed. The same idea of America that inspired John Winthrop to imagine this land as a shining city upon a hill. The idea of America that has inspired countless human beings from all corners of the world, from all backgrounds and all ethnicities and religions to seek refuge and fertile soil to bloom. It is in search of that beacon of hope that an ever growing number of people have reached our shores and with their actions and lives have enlarged the extraordinary quality of the American experience and by this very act, become part of it.
Today the nation calls for a clear-cut repudiation of the politics of hate and fear. A left hook to knock out racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. I am confident in the good heart and decent nature of the American people, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific shorelines, to the New England inlets and the Gulf’s white sand, all the way up to the Windy City and the Motor City and
the Great Plains, to the Southern hospitality and the canyons in the West. I have observed a distinct characteristic shared by all those who I have met, an intrinsic value that has moved this country forward through war and depression. The resilience of the American spirit was not given but earned by generations and generations of men and women who despite their background or skin color contribute to make our nation greater than before. Great trials await great people. And the American nation, over and over again has proved to be wise and generous. I know once again this time the idea of America will prevail over those who usurping, try to injure it. But these fellows have forgotten a very important fact: ideas can’t be stopped with physical violence, nor deposed with intimidation. The idea of America lives in each one of us, and is in the safeguard of our soul where it will flourish, in spite of those who wish to change it.