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Pat Buchanan: Is diversity a root cause of dual loyalty? | TribLIVE.com
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Pat Buchanan: Is diversity a root cause of dual loyalty?

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Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., listens as Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russ Vought testifies before the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington March 12.

We can’t be divided by race, religion, by tribe. We’re defined by those enduring principles in the Constitution, even though we don’t necessarily all know them.”

So Joe Biden told the firefighters union last week.

But does Joe really believe that? Or does that not sound more like a plea, a wistful hope, rather than a deep conviction?

For Biden surely had in mind the debate that exploded in the House Democratic caucus on how to punish Somali-American and Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for raising the specter of dual loyalty.

Rebutting accusations of anti-Semitism lodged against her, Omar had fired back: “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Omar was talking about Israel.

Republicans raged that Nancy Pelosi’s caucus must denounce Omar for anti- Semitism. Journalists described the raising of the “dual loyalty” charge as a unique and awful moment, and perhaps a harbinger of things to come.

Yet, allegations of dual loyalty against ethnic groups, even from statesmen, have a long history in American politics.

In 1915, ex-President Theodore Roosevelt, at a convention of the Catholic Knights of Columbus, bellowed: “There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism … German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans, or Italian-Americans.

“There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is a man who is an American and nothing else.”

What would Roosevelt think of the dual citizenship of many Americans today? If someone is a citizen of more than one country, how do we know where his primary allegiance lies?

Does not dual citizenship, de facto, imply dual loyalty?

Our Founding Fathers, too, were ever alert to the dangers of dual loyalty. In his farewell address, President Washington warned against a “passionate attachment” to any foreign nation that might create the illusion of some “common interest … where no common interest exists.”

Did FDR fear dual loyalty? His internment of 110,000 Japanese, mostly U.S. citizens, for the duration of World War II, suggests that he did.

Did not the prosecution of American Communists under the Smith Act, begun by Truman and continued by Eisenhower, suggest that these first postwar presidents saw peril in a secret party that gave allegiance to a hostile foreign power?

What defines us, said Joe Biden, are the “enduring principles in the Constitution, even though we don’t necessarily all know them .”

But if these principles, of which many Americans are not even aware, says Joe, are what define us and hold us together, then what is it that is tearing us apart?

Is it not our differences? Is it not our diversity?

Is it not the powerful and conflicting claims of a multiplicity of races, religions, tribes, ethnicities, and nationalities, as well as clashing ideologies, irreconcilable moral codes, a culture war, and conflicting visions of America’s past — the one side seeing it as horrible and hateful, the other as great and good?

“Diversity is our greatest strength!” we are ever admonished.

But where is the evidence for what appears to be not only an inherently implausible claim but a transparently foolish and false one?

Pat Buchanan is author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

Pat Buchanan is author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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