Tuesday, August 15, 2017

One Nation Under God

A copy of this map, created by the National Association for the Advancement of White People, was published in Esquire Magazine back in 1985. I show it in my geography classes when we discuss whether or not the United States is a "nation-state"--meaning a state/country comprised of a nation--a group of people with unifying bonds based on such things as heritage, culture, ethnicity, language or religion. Iceland, Japan, and Tonga are good examples of true nation-states. India, Russia, Iraq and Nigeria are multi-nation states. 

When students are asked to classify the United States some suggest it is a multi-nation state given our citizenry comprised of many indigenous nations (for example Hawaiians, Inuit, Navajo and Sioux) and a rich mix of immigrants who over the centuries have hailed from many nations. Others think we have become a single "imagined community" (to use the term of Benedict Anderson) or single nation that is united by such things as the constitution, freedoms, democracy, anthems, monuments, flags and the American Dream.

Until this year, this map was mostly viewed as a cultural relic of a racist America that was seeming to be on the wane. Sadly, that is no longer the case.

The man behind this map is David Duke. The man who today thanked President Trump for his condemnation of those who stood up against the racist white nationalists in Charlottesville. Thirty three years later and Duke's dream of a white America is once again on the rise. The re-ascendance of the alt-right, Nazis, and KKK has certainly been fueled by our "white nationalist in chief" who led the charge that falsely claimed Obama was not born in America, who waged a campaign of disdain for Hispanics, Muslims, immigrants and others, who verified his view of women as being easy objects of his lusts and who continues to divide this country by calling out and condemning via early morning tweets any who question or challenge him. He is not presidential and his continued presidency is only serving to weaken and divide our country. He is not making America great again. He is enabling those who seek to divide and who seek to return us to a era of racial inequality, segregation, and hatred. That is not the America I believe in. 

For a less serious view of whether or not the United States is a nation-state I like to show this 1992 map from the New York Times that humorously shows how North America may fragment/Balkanize over the next century. Utah is a theocracy!

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