If You’re Not Grateful To The United States, Why Are You Here? By Casey Chalk for The Federalist
GNN Note – UNITED, as in unity, we stand, DIVIDED, as in diversity, we fall. Who benefits from diversity, who benefits when our nation is flooded with people that want to kill us, want to strip us of our wealth and want to bring their culture into ours instead of assimilating? Who benefits? I can you this, it’s not you and me.
Rather than ridicule America’s past, as if the travesties of U.S. history nullify its soaring glories, immigrants and longtime Americans should be grateful for America and its political and cultural traditions.
Earlier this month, the Washington Post featured an op-ed entitled “I am an uppity immigrant. Don’t expect me to be ‘grateful,’” by New York University professor Suketu Mehta, an author who recently published a book arguing that “immigration is a form of reparations” for past American crimes.
In the article, Mehta accuses America of stealing “the futures of the people who are now arriving at its borders,” of causing many immigrants “to move in the first place,” and of “despoil[ing] their homelands and mak[ing] them unsafe and unlivable.” He censures the West for “despoil[ing] country after country through colonialism, illegal wars, rapacious corporations and unchecked carbon emissions.”
Mehta asserts, for such reasons, that he’s “entitled” to live in the United States. Yet a few brief historical reflections will demonstrate that immigration as reparations is a bit more complicated than Mehta lets on. Moreover, no one, whether first-generation immigrants or direct descendants of voyagers on the Mayflower, deserves to be here. Being American is a gift for which every citizen should be inordinately grateful.
No Country Is Free of Guilt for Horrible Crimes
First, Mehta’s conception of American history, identity, and foreign policy is quite skewed. He’s indeed right to criticize the United States’ many disastrous and damaging blunders around the world, from the Horn of Africa to the Levant to Latin America. Yet it’s ludicrous to claim that all the problems of these nations and peoples lie at the United States’ feet, or that the United States’ egregious errors somehow necessitate reparations via immigration. As Jeremy Black in “Imperial Legacies” astutely argues, the countries that have suffered at the hands of American foreign policy had plenty of problems before a single American boot or dollar ever crossed their border.
Somalia, the original homeland of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was impoverished and violent long before the United States got involved there during the Cold War. European colonialists caused many of Somalia’s problems, as they did for many other African nations. But other problems, such as female circumcision, slavery, and war, long predate the arrival of Europeans.
Likewise, long before the U.S. government and American companies sought to manipulate the banana republics of Latin America, the region was a mess following centuries of rapacious Spanish and Portuguese imperialism. Brazil was the last country to allow slavery, in 1888 — 20 years after America’s Emancipation Proclamation.