“E PLURIBUS UNUM” is a Latin inscription on the Great Seal of the United States. It means “ONE FROM MANY.” This was one of those ideas that made America great; a land of one people united under the founding principles of liberty and freedom enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
It is a fact of history that Americans have not always lived up perfectly to those ideals. They were in fact difficult ideals to live up to. The vast span of human history is a witness that few had ever – before America – either understood or attempted to live up to these high ideals. Americans paid a heavy price for their failures. There were over 1 million lives lost in the Civil War that finally ended slavery in the United States.
Once upon a time people came to America for an opportunity to work and create a better life for themselves and their families. They expected to earn that new and better life through their own hard work and perseverance. For immigrants arriving in America in the 18th and 19th century America was an opportunity, not an entitlement.
“One from many” was truly one of the ideas that made America great. If we want to make America great again then we need to focus on uniting, not on dividing. No matter our race, sex, or where our families may have come from in the past, or done to each other in the past, we are all Americans now. That is something that we as Americans have every right to be proud of.
However some people in America are doing everything they can to divide Americans into rival tribes, not to make America great, but to gain political power. They preach Identity Politics where the principle is to divide Americans over claims of grievance and entitlement. If they had a Latin motto it would be “EX UNO PLURES,” meaning, “MANY OUT OF ONE.”
In Identity Politics your value as a person does not depend on what you have accomplished in life. In Identity Politics your value and worth as a person depends on the color of your skin, or your gender identity, or your national origin, or how you like to practice sex. It sets blacks against whites, gays against straights, and women against men.
This kind of politics divides people along lines of identity and grievance and then unites them under the umbrella of a political platform that promises entitlements and revenge against the perceived oppressors. Perhaps that is why so many of those preaching Identity Politics get so angry over the phrase “Make America Great Again.” If we actually solved many of the problems in America they would lose their bid for political power.
That makes me wonder if these people really want to solve problems? Somehow I don’t think so. Their agenda is to keep people divided and angry at each other. That is where their power comes from. They are simply practicing a very old tactic in politics, the tactic of “divide and conquer.”
As people who are still proud to be Americans we need to do just the opposite. We need to work to unite. “E PLURIBUS UNUM” should be our guiding principle