“One” Nation under God?

The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy, a “socialist Baptist” minister in 1892, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ “Discovery of the New World”. It soon became a “national pledge of loyalty”. But while the USA may be “one nation”, it is really one nation with several different cultures; often in conflict with each other.

Culture is often defined as “a way of life”, which includes both material and spiritual elements: such as religion, food, music, language usage and social perceptions and resources. In other words, a “cultural map” of the USA, which will look quite different than the physical map we see in our encyclopedias.

American diversity is one of its greatest assets. We instinctively acknowledge that difference as part of our basic freedoms. But it is also part of our greatest challenge: can a nation with so many diverse beliefs and cultures truly survive?

America’s International conflicts have been consistently resolved in its favor; and Americans in the past have joined together to defeat the common threat; but while our “international challenges” have been successful, our “domestic differences” still continue to repeat themselves.

Fortunately, it has mostly been has been the ballot box, not the battlefield where our differences have been decided; with one notable exception: the Civil War ended with a military victory for unity not secession, but we still struggle over the issues of both “States Rights” and “Civil Rights”. It may be “One Nation under God”, but each region has its own culture, more or less compatible with the national culture.

The triumph of American diversity is that while other nations with similar divisions and diverse differences have separated or dissolved; so far all regions still accept their allegiance to the United States of America, even though their perception of that unity may differ.

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