Opinion

Seeking one citizenship

Frank Corder Contributor

I trust by now you have received and completed your 2010 Census. Once again, we as Americans are called upon to step up and be counted. The repercussions of the census on local, state, and national government are tremendous, from proper representation to appropriations to emergency preparedness and more. And while the census is extremely important, it also highlights an ongoing problem in our American society.

Since the beginning of our great nation, one singular issue has remained at the center of every political, social, and religious debate. One issue has divided this land of opportunity into brother against brother, father against son, denomination against denomination, poor against rich. It has started riots, fires, funerals, and wars. Jobs have been lost and industries have been built; buses have been made into memorials and crosses into ash all because of one issue. Racial or ethnic equality is the driving force behind so many of our ills today, and yet the debate still rages because we as citizens allow it to persist and linger. Some even propagate its existence to stir animosity and resentment, to garner political favor, and to justify and satisfy their own personal prejudices. These vultures strive to divide; they fight against unity.

I ask you, what good is going undone while we allow such prideful foolery to inhabit our own minds and the minds of those around us? What could our country be if this issue wasn’t diluting our communities and ruining relationships?

We must move past labels and reclaim our national identity, not as individuals, but as one citizenship in this Republic. Such unity can only begin in the depths of each soul, which will require exploration into ones deepest sense of self. Allow me to elaborate.

My ancestry nor my ethnic background make me who I am. I live in this present condition, at this time in history, and am tasked with serving my fellow man and my God right here, right now. My eye is fixed on the future, not the past, for I cannot change those who came before me; I may only learn and gain wisdom from studying where they erred, determining to not falter where they faltered, and at times celebrating their achievements.

Running through my veins is blood that was created by the Almighty right here in America, not Europe or Asia or Africa. In ages past, whoever courted my kin to these shores of freedom and by whatever trials befell them on their journey is of no true consequence to me now. While it is indeed enlightening to learn those lessons, dwelling on such things would only serve to divide me from my neighbor. I live today and strive to live on for tomorrow, not for myself, but for my Lord, my family and my community.

I cannot thank my Creator enough for placing me in such a liberating place. Thanks be to God that I was born an American. I am not white or black, Anglo-Saxon or African-American, Hispanic or Vietnamese, Baptist or Catholic, Jew or Hindu. I am simply an American, and that is enough. Such is the essence of our hope and existence as one citizenship in this Republic.

Those who seek to label and wander in the midst of confusion and lore seek only to stir emotions for their own causes. We are people, not pawns. I do not condone nor do I support many past actions in my own beloved country, actions that at times have divided families, neighbors, and countrymen. But my hope is not in the past; my hope is not in the present; my hope is in the future and in the Republic I strive for each day in my own minute way and would die to protect should that be required of me.

When we as Americans begin to see this common thread weaving each of us together and we lay down our pride and our labels of prejudice and division, this country will flourish beyond any of our imaginations. If America is ever going to overcome and reach its destined potential, we must openly and without shame or malice address this wound and nurture it to health. The scars may linger, but it is our choice not to prick those sensitive areas as it mends.

I ask you today to join me in promoting one citizenship in this Republic. Our preferences, philosophies, and ideologies may differ in the church house, school house, or White House, but our one citizenship should always guide us in overcoming any self serving motives, striving together as fellow Americans within a spirit of unity, humility, and respect for our countrymen.

Join with me; be one citizenship in this Republic. Discard the labels and antiquated mentality. Proclaim yourself as an American, no more, no less, and be proud of it.

Frank Corder is a twice-elected Republican City Councilman in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  He hosts and co-hosts political talk shows on local radio and television.