As George Takei explains in this video, the most decorated military unit in American history was made up of volunteers from Japanese internment camps during World War II, who wanted to prove their love and loyalty for their country. This is the history which truly makes America great.
The meaning of America
Robert Reich: What does “America” mean, anyways?
When Trump and his followers refer to “America,” what do they mean?
Some see a country of white English-speaking Christians.
Others want a land inhabited by self-seeking individuals free to accumulate as much money and power as possible, who pay taxes only to protect their assets from criminals and foreign aggressors.
Others think mainly about flags, national anthems, pledges of allegiance, military parades, and secure borders.
Trump encourages a combination of all three — tribalism, libertarianism, and loyalty.
But the core of our national identity has not been any of this. It has been found in the ideals we share – political equality, equal opportunity, freedom of speech and of the press, a dedication to open inquiry and truth, and to democracy and the rule of law.
We are not a race. We are not a creed. We are a conviction — that all people are created equal, that people should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, and that government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Political scientist Carl Friedrich, comparing Americans to Gallic people, noted that “to be an American is an ideal, while to be a Frenchman is a fact.”
That idealism led Lincoln to proclaim that America might yet be the “last best hope” for humankind. It prompted Emma Lazarus, some two decades later, to welcome to American the world’s “tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
It inspired the poems of Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes, and the songs of Woody Guthrie. All turned their love for America into demands that we live up to our ideals. “This land is your land, this land is my land,” sang Guthrie. “Let America be America again,” pleaded Hughes: “The land that never has been yet — /And yet must be — the land where every man is free. / The land that’s mind — the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME — .” …
If we’re losing our national identity it’s not because we now come in more colors, practice more religions, and speak more languages than we once did.
It is because we are forgetting the real meaning of America — the ideals on which our nation was built. We are losing our sense of the common good.
Tzu Chi Foundation is the largest Buddhist charity in the world, and was the only charity besides The Salvation Army and The Red Cross allowed access to Ground Zero after 9/11. Its founder, Cheng Yen, was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.