Yet the concept of citizenship is being assaulted on the premodern side by the legal blending of mere residency with citizenship.
Estimates of the number of undocumented American residents range from 11 million to more than 20 million. The undocumented are becoming legally indistinguishable from citizens and enjoy exemption from federal immigration law in some 500 sanctuary jurisdictions. An illegal resident of
Multiculturalism has reduced the idea of e pluribus unum to a regressive tribalism. Americans often seem to owe their first allegiance to those who look like they do. Citizens cannot even agree over once-hallowed and shared national holidays such as Christmas,
It is eerie how such current American retribalization resembles the collapse of
Citizenship has always been protected by the middle classes -- on the idea that they are more independent and self-reliant than the poor, but can stand up to the influence and power of the elite.
Yet until recently, we had seen a decade of stagnant wages and entire regions ossified by outsourcing, offshoring and unfair global trade. Historically, with the demise of the middle class so follows the end of constitutional government.
But citizenship also faces a quite different and even greater postmodern threat.
Many of our coastal elites see nothing much exceptional in America, past and present. They prefer the culture and values of the
Often, such "citizen of the world" mentalities fuel shame over the origins and traditions of America. Transnational organizations and accords on climate, criminal justice and human rights are seen as superior to their American counterparts.
A new progressive iconoclasm seeks to destroy statues, rename streets and buildings, and wipe away art that does not reflect more global values.
Does voting -- the bedrock right of the democratic citizen -- matter that much anymore? In
Lone activist federal judges frequently overturn legislation and referenda they find contrary to their own political take on legal theory -- without worry that the votes of millions are canceled in a nanosecond.
Meanwhile, the proverbial "swamp" of the bureaucratic, administrative and regulatory state is so vast and unaccountable that a few clerks can harass entrepreneurs, issue edicts with the force of legislation that ruins lives, or indict, regulate or audit a targeted individual into legal bankruptcy.
In recent years, we have seen a cake maker, a video maker, and a national security adviser so hounded by federal bureaucrats that they either were nearly bankrupted, ended up in jail or were reduced to penury through legal costs.
We still have a Bill of Rights, but many of our constitutional protections are being rendered impotent. If a rural family cannot find ammunition at the local Walmart or gun store due to organized boycotts and threats to such establishments, then the constitutional right to bear arms is not always exercisable in a practical sense.
If a student cannot safely express opposition to abortion on demand, question the global warming narrative, or object to safe spaces, trigger warnings and race-based theme houses on campuses, does it matter that there is in theory still a First Amendment?
We are unwinding at both ends. Tribalism, the erosion of the middle class and de facto open borders are turning Americans into mere residents of a particular North American region between
Yet even more dangerously, thanks to the fiats of unelected bureaucrats and officials, along with the social media lynch mobs who boycott, harass and shame us, our constitutional rights are now increasingly optional. They mostly hinge on whether we are judged worthy by an unelected, politically correct and morally righteous elite.
In theory, American citizenship remains the same; in reality, it is disappearing fast.
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