This I Believe

Jack - Los Angeles, California
Entered on June 6, 2006
Age Group: 65+
Themes: immigrant

This Is What I Don’t Believe

As the Ottoman Empire was crumbling and Europe was on the verge of engaging in one of its frequent worthless wars, I don’t believe my parents came here so they could retain the very things they were fleeing from. I don’t believe they wanted to retain allegiance to their Turkish/Greek ethnicity. I don’t believe they wanted to establish ethnic pockets among their fellow immigrants. I don’t believe that they did not want to establish for themselves a new identity as Americans.

I don’t believe they wanted to be called, as President Teddy Roosevelt described it, a hyphenated American. I don’t believe they wanted to be known as Turkish/Greek Americans, only as Americans. I don’t believe they thought of the hyphenated American as other than separatist, racist, divisive, and antithetical to what it means to be American.

I don’t believe they thought of their founding fathers as other than Thomas Jefferson George Washington, John Adams, et al. I don’t believe they did not want to become a part of that transcendent ideology called Americanism. I don’t believe they encouraged all five of their children to retain their longing for their own European past. I don’t believe they wanted us to grow up as part of a culture different from America’s.

I don’t believe they agreed with the concept of multi-culturalism. Incorporating all the disparate groups into a larger American culture was good enough for them. They’re no longer here, but those of us remaining don’t believe that what is happening to America is good for our future. I don’t believe that our country’s motto, ‘E Pluribus Unum’, should be replaced by ‘E Pluribus Pluribus’ because I do believe in the imperative of E Pluribus Unum.