241 years ago we were part of the Great British Empire. We were loyal, although complaining, citizens. Then we chose to go our own way and eventually after a four-year rebellion got our way. We still have common bonds with GB but we are also markedly different. One of the major differences is that we are a nation of immigrants and Great Britain is a nation embedded in aristocracy.
We until recently have a classless nation. We don’t hold people in higher esteem just because of what name they have. America became known as the land of opportunity. A place where anyone with the right opportunities and drive could make their fortunes. I say until recently because since the 1980s, I always like to put the blame on the Reagan administration, we simply did not allow massive fortunes to flow from one generation to another. For the super-rich inheritance taxes were often 90% or more.
In the last one hundred years, but especially the last thirty, wealth began to flow with very little taxes from one generation to another. That results in people like Paris Hilton getting massive fortunes from their great-grandparents. That fact separates us into the “haves” and the “have-nots”. Paris has never known what it is like not to get her every whim and wish fulfilled with no effort on her part. Unlike Britain, we don’t put perpetual titles on our gifted.
Getting to the point of this post, many people fear that since GB chose to exit the European Union that it might be a signal that we will also do something radical such as electing and egomaniac narcissist anti-immigrant person as our president. Given that we are a nation of immigrant and the most part unprivileged that is not likely. Of course, this election will test that theory to the max. It all depends on turnout. Presidential election turnouts have typically been in the mid-50% range. That is, only about half of us bother to show up at the polls. We are perhaps the worst in established democracies in that regard.
It will soon come to a point that the majority of us in the U.S. will no longer be WASPs. Over 40% of us presently claim heritage of a different nature. Whereas Britain is still very much entwined with a whites-only society. It has been pretty well established that immigration was one of the primary reasons for the Brexit vote. The well-established citizens could see the “British way of life” changing too quickly for them and because they are still a significant majority they were able to say “no more immigrants”.
The ethnic diversity of the U.S. is unique in all of the world. It has allowed us to empathize with oppressed countries around the globe and as the plaque on the Statue of Liberty says we don’t put a monetary or class requirement on those who want to come to join us. Well, at least until now, and these time will soon pass…