The startling 2016 presidential election weakened the notion of tribal identity rather than a shared American identity. And it may have begun a return to the old idea of unhyphenated Americans.In a world of Oppression Olympics and empty intersectionality and trans-exclusionary radical feminists, that might even be good for the identity politics crowd. Or perhaps the identity politics crowd can offer something fun to the folks outside the tribe.
Many working-class voters left the Democratic Party and voted for a billionaire reality-TV star in 2016 because he promised jobs and economic growth first, a new sense of united Americanism second, and an end to politically correct ethnic tribalism third.
In the 19th century, huge influxes of Irish and German immigrants warred for influence and power against the existing American coastal establishment that traced its ancestry to England. Despite their ethnic chauvinism, these immigrant activist groups eventually became indistinguishable from their hosts.I disagree, in part. Everybody can be Irish in mid-March, particularly in Chicago and a few other big cities. Then everybody can #GetYourDeutschOn from August into October.
Then and now, the forces of assimilation, integration and intermarriage make it hard to retain an ethnic cachet beyond two generations -- at least without constant inflows of new and often poor fellow immigrants.
As I noted at the time, "give these kids an America to buy into, and an America that buys into these kids, and we'll be OK."
It's really up to Mr Hanson to come up with something more fun than Ikea, or lutefisk.
The strained effort to champion the victimized tribe can turn comical. In the 1960s, my family still tried to buy Swedish-made Volvo automobiles and Electrolux vacuum cleaners. But it proved hopeless to cling to a fading Swedish heritage.A hint: Skol translates as Prosit!
For all the trendy talk of the salad bowl and the careerist rewards of hyping a multicultural ancestry, America still remains a melting pot of diverse races, ethnicities and agendas.
I'll give Mr Hanson an optimistic last word, though. "'Them' is out, and 'us' is back in." Yes, and Polonia and Bavaria refrain from re-litigating the Polish Corridor.