I happen to be an American of Croatian descent.
I’m not a Croatian-American, often referred to as a hyphenated-American. Never will be. Don’t want to be. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but for me it’s pretty darn important.
Other examples of hyphenated-American titles include Japanese-American, Native-American, Mexican-American, Asian-American, African-American, Irish-American and Italian-American, to name but a few.
I find such titles unnecessary and potentially destructive to the fabric of our Nation. And, I’m not alone in my feelings.
I’ve been to Croatia once while deployed with NATO forces. Seemed like a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. I feel no particular attachment, emotional or otherwise. I don’t speak Croatian, am not intimately familiar with its culture and traditions, am not particularly up-to-date on its political, social and economic underpinnings and can go weeks, months and even years without giving Croatia much thought.
Why then would I wish to be called a Croatian-American?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of my Croatian roots. But America always gets the place of honor with me.
Darn it, I’m unabashedly proud, thankful and blessed to be a citizen of the greatest country in the world. I will not, cannot, split my loyalty between two countries.
There shall never be a question that my loyalty and allegiance belongs to America. America is my home, where my heart is and my family resides. It’s the country I love, the only country. It’s the country I am willing to die for should it be necessary. Surely, I cannot say the same about Croatia.
It’s time to chart a new course.
Let’s begin emphasizing our common interests and common American heritage rather than the things that make us different. Respect for diversity is a good thing, but not if done at the expense of our Nation’s best interests.
Let’s always put America first. Rather than Irish-American, let’s instead say American of Irish descent. African-American changes to American of African descent. Mexican-American becomes American of Mexican descent. And so on.
As President Roosevelt so wisely said, “Our allegiance must be purely to the United States.”
America, land of the free and home of the brave. There can be no other. There is no other.
Dare I Say, God bless the USA.