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Our Concept Of Tribe Will Define America's Future

Updated on July 17, 2016

History and Today demand that we define ourselves as "The American Tribe".

There appears to be something in our genes that arouses our impulse to define ourselves with our "tribe" and to be suspicious of other "tribes" in any ways they are unlike our own.

If true, we need today's chance to strengthen our concept that we Americans are all part of our American "tribe" and recent events have diminished that feeling by causes that encourage us to see ourselves as Democrat or Republican, Red States or Blue States, Whites. or Asians, or Blacks, or Hispanics, Legals, or Illegals, separating us into distinct "tribes".

President Obama could, and should, have said something like "I am an American, born of a black father and a white mother, raised by a white grandmother and married to a black wife. I am an American, not one thing or the other, but both at the same time, American!"

Would that have made a difference in America today? Would Obama even have been elected president?

We will never know the answers to those questions, in large part because then Senator Obama did not take that path.

Now it is time for America to take a united path, just as we did when Imperial Japan attacked and Adolph Hitler and his Nazis were running rampant across Europe; just as we did in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and following the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers when we knew that we were all being challenged as Americans.

I sense that every person on this planet Earth would rally together, if we were to be challenged by aliens from outer space. Barring such an external threat, we find ourselves divided into our “tribes" as defined by borders and flags, languages, cultures, doctrines, economies, and historical divisions such as religion, and ethnicity.

Today's America is a reflection of what is wrong with the world. America has at times been a beacon, a glimmer of what the world could be, if a League of Nations, and a United Nations could actually fulfill the dreams of a torn and waiting world divided against itself.

If America realizes its potential and shows how diverse people can live together in harmony under a system of laws and equal justice for all, we can once again be that beacon for the world.

Until that day, we are no better nor worse than the struggling world around us.

We want to believe that we are better, that our Constitution already makes us unique, and that our form of capitalism offers the individual hope and opportunity for a rise to the top of the human totem pole of our “tribe”.

There is an historic American example of how tribalism has failed in the past. Native Americans were divided by tribalism, linguistically, and culturally. They were unable to unite to defend their collective ways of life. They were subjected to the many indignities that followed. Divided they fell.

America’s future could be similar, or we could learn from history and the warnings of our first president, George Washington. He warned that our “liberty depends on [our] unity.”

His warnings can be read in “Washington’s Farewell Address” ( and his warnings are as true today as they were when his “address” was made public as an article in a Philadelphia newspaper dated September 17, 1796 and published on September 19, 1796.

I urge every patriotic American concerned about America’s future to seek out and read his readily available farewell address. It speaks to today’s priority concerns equally as well as it did to America’s priority concerns 220 years ago.

Over those 220 years his warnings have sounded less and less on our national consciousness. They are warnings against what America has become....dire warnings from a man considered "The father of our country" and his close friends Alexander Hamilton and John Jay.

© 2016 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.

Copyright 2016 by Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
Copyright 2016 by Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved. | Source


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    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      This is an excellent work on unity as compatriots. I believe that common sense shows and always has that might does not make right, but negotiation skills will bring us strength.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      Your words "America realizes its potential and shows how diverse people can live together in harmony under a system of laws and equal justice for all, we can once again be that beacon for the world." are what will help us get back on track with humanity.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 years ago from Beautiful South

      I so agree that we must forget our differences and unite. My point is that I think we should look at the Native Americans and the African tribes and learn a lesson from them. We also must stop picking up the cudgel to help fight every cause that looks just. We must first see if a foreign source is backing the cause as a rabble-rousing tool.

    • Perspycacious profile imageAUTHOR

      Demas W Jasper 

      4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      MizBejabbers - The so-called "Free World" needs unity, too. "Divide and conquer" can win elections and lose the wars which will ultimately determine whether or not the "Free World" stays free and us with it. We need strong, effective, unifying leadership. If you find it, vote for it. But it won't be found in the "gimmies" or the "us versus them" pronouncements, the liberals versus conservatives, etc. At a time when America most needs a consensus, strong leader, with the faith and empathy of a Lincoln and the vision of two Roosevelts, we need to keep scanning the horizons.

    • Perspycacious profile imageAUTHOR

      Demas W Jasper 

      4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Ericdierker - You are right, and in good company, because so was our first president. Sectionalism and contending parties concentrating on their own interests above the national interest are a grave danger to a free society that buys into narrow self interest at the sacrifice of the whole.

    • Perspycacious profile imageAUTHOR

      Demas W Jasper 

      4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      FlourishAnyway A local TV station here in Utah made up a sign that has the word UNITED over the words NOT DIVIDED. The Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House today shows what Americans can do when duty calls and we put honor, country, and other Americans' lives above our own. Many Americans do that every day. The award was well-deserved, but that kind of self-sacrifice and bravery is not unique.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 years ago from Beautiful South

      “Native Americans were divided by tribalism, linguistically, and culturally.”

      So were Africans. If Africans had been united and fought against the kidnappings by other tribes and those of white Europeans, there would have been no American slavery. If we don’t wake up, which I doubt we will, tribalism will be our downfall. Yet it is promoted out of one side of the American mouth while the other side promotes unity. Let that be a lesson to us all.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very interesting and a good reminder to all of us to be careful not to fall into the trap.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      There is an abundance of social psychological literature dealing with in-group/out-group perceptions. What is happening now in both politics and society directly pertains to these perceptions. It's reaching such a fever pitch it's dangerous. We such need unity on some level.


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