Recently, a rabbi who knows about my work promoting civic education in our schools asked me, “Are you an American or a Jew first?”
At first, I didn’t know tips on how to answer. After some time I said, “Well, I’m Jack Miller first. I used to be born in America and I really like America for the liberty I actually have to realize my goals through my very own skills and labor. I used to be also born a Jew, which taught me tips on how to live well and be answerable for myself and others ”.
Then I began to take into consideration how someone could attempt to categorize me. Yes, I’m a Jew and an American patriot. Besides, I’m white and male. I’m also a university graduate, businessman, philanthropist, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather (which also puts me within the old category) and the list goes on and on.
For the following several months, I pondered the rabbi’s query and my answer. It reminded us of what is occurring in today’s society, where some are preoccupied with classifying Americans into categories akin to race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion.
It seems to me that dividing people into limitless categories is the precise opposite of what Martin Luther King Jr. has fought so hard for. – his dreams to guage us not by the colour of our skin, but by the content of our character. The ability of the ideas in our Declaration of Independence – the natural rights all of us possess no matter race, religion or gender – is much more powerful than the limitless categories created by activists.
In fact, slavery, racism and discrimination definitely existed at the inspiration of our nation, but they were completely contrary to the principles of the Declaration. Within the centuries that followed, this evil was radically reduced while remaining true to our core principles – not rejecting them. We’ve to work hard to proceed this project of freedom for all – not forcing people to share categories that ignore what we’ve got in common.
Our national motto is “E Pluribus Unum” which implies one in every of many. Our Declaration boldly and unequivocally states that everybody deserves to have their rights secured. Based on this understanding of justice, the Fourteenth Amendment states that “nobody may be deprived of” life, liberty or property with out a due legal process “and that each one will receive” equal protection of the law “.
This can be a vision of our country, a vision that has not been realized yet, but which we’re much closer to achieving. But our progress is threatened by the pressure to divide people into categories and demanding special rights for some and approval for others.
So, returning to this query, the rabbi asked me, “Am I an American first or a Jew first?” I answer that I’m Jack Miller, an individualist. This ought to be the reply every American must have. We’re all in the primary place, not only a part of some category based on appearance.
As Americans, we live in a rustic where we will pursue our own happiness, succeed or fail, based on our individual abilities and willingness to work hard to realize our goals. As individuals living where our equality and individual rights are recognized, we should always take responsibility for our own lives, for our successes and failures. We should always not allow an limitless array of categories to come to a decision who we’re.
Jack Miller is the founder and president Jack Miller Centera company 501 (c) (3) that promotes the teaching of fundamental principles and American history by supporting professors and programs on campuses across the country, and courses for elementary and highschool teachers that help them create interesting lessons for his or her students.