The light from the setting Arizona sun filtered through the two American flags undulating in the back of his pickup truck. They were secured on posts. I can’t remember the color of the truck because I was transfixed by the look on his face – serenity. He had reclaimed his homeland. He belonged. His black bandana was thin across his forehead, and was clean and crisp. Even his beard was well trimmed. He was neither rowdy nor frowzy. Sometimes we can read people’s struggles on their faces; I could read his. Like me, he also had his own identity crisis. But he had overcome. He had the look of a man finally at peace. Things were going to be OK now. His country, America, was going to be great again. And for a few seconds I felt again the gnaw of rootlessness.
It is ingrained in the American mind that the United States is “the great American melting pot,” as the old Schoolhouse Rock video sang it: “You simply melt right in.” But we don’t “simply melt right in” – not anymore. People across the country have noticed this; immigration itself has become one of the most contentious issues in our public square. “Why are immigrants not melting in?” people ask.
The answer is that we have an identity problem; that is, the host country – America – has national identity issues. And modern man in general is undergoing an identity crisis.
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