The unique aspect of living in America is you do not have to belong to a religious, ethic or any other kind of group. You can be an individual because individualism is recognized and protected. There are no castes, government enforced memberships or class delineations that must be displayed to authorities. You are not required to belong and all affiliations are voluntary although there are attempts at intimidation by religious proselyters, union goons and some employers that seek a “team” approach to charity.
Few people in the United States really appreciate this aspect of living here and take it for granted. Since it is not often that this aspect of living here is accentuated it is too often overlooked by those who want to form groups and be part of a group that speaks for some aspect of American Society. News commentators such as Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh advocate groupiness. O’Reilly speaks of those who don’t support his viewpoints as secular progressives and Rush has his conservative versus liberal agenda.. Of course those who align with a common enemy become dutiful followers and are sure there is a clear demarkation in the groups being identified. The fact is the demarkations are not clearly defined and if one is accused of being liberal or secular progressive the accusation is often taken as proof.
None of these commentators speak up for the individual that doesn’t fit in their “convenient “ categories. To these talk show hosts anyone that doesn’t fit is so insignificant they are instantly discounted as irrelevant. If you despise the opposition they speak of you categorize people who are not necessarily groupies and lay the framework for the kind of society that is prevalent in most of the other countries of the world. The scapegoats are the groups that get identified as out of step. The Jews in Germany, the castes of India, the commons of England, the outcasts of numerous countries, ad infinitum. In these countries individualism is totally absent. You must be classified as belonging to a designated group. As an individual you have no identity apart from a group.
Recently there were Iranian Jews that escaped from Iran to live with other Jews in Israel. Here they said they felt safe as they were not pointed out to be the “enemy”. They retained their adhesion to the Jewish identity as there was not acceptance as individuals but as an acceptable group membership. When the government sanctions such artificial determinations and the force of law begins to sort the sheep from the goats ( as we saw in the deep south prior to emancipation ) individualism begins to disappear and the group fights for the power to rule. This is what is happening in Iraq because of our foolish ignoring of what must be done when entering war. We have not established a culture of individualism because we are becoming unaware of its importance in the fight for liberty in our own country. No one listens to an individual unless they advocate some form of group animosity or speak for some group.
The political candidates talk of their opponents as belonging to a group. They are liberal , conservative, Republican, Democrat, secular progressives, evangelicals, fundamentalists, etc. Is this what we elect for a leader? A person that has lost his respect for individualism and must define what group he belongs to? George W. Bush said he belonged to the group called “compassionate conservatives”. How many will run on that moniker again? How many individuals are out there wondering what camp they belong in and do they really fit the criteria? The ill defined groups have no common creed, no common cause and fight among themselves on various issues. And all are individuals that have let their individuality be drained from them by listening to misguided pundits. Choose up sides and join the parade is the message, but the parade is a wandering mob unsure of direction and uncomfortably out of step.
The legacy of the United States is not just the fact that someone can rise to success but they can rise to success based on individual initiative. Getting a crowd to put you on a political pedestal where you live to be elected for a lifetime requires group adhesion and the loss of individualism. Pandering and waffling demonstrates only that your thoughts are relegated by your desire for political power. What you plan to do with that power is capricious and ultimately sacrificial. For when you deny the realty of being an individual and become the segment of an undefined group it is the loudest and most consistent of the group that runs your life. This is why Hillary Clinton is having such difficulty pleasing the far left segment and the nebulous moderate majority. Her individuality disappeared when she decided that her husband was her ticket to political power. The group , the Clintons, is too small for a voting bloc and there are too many unwilling to join that camp. And it will be individuals that join as an undefined group that defeats that attempt to grab power. And you can bet there will be a sigh of relief by many individuals whatever camp they had been identified with, even some lock-step Democrats.