The United States of ME?

Are we still a nation of unity?

We have a nation with many deep, historical scars. As time progresses and humanity devolves into creatures of avarice and entitlement, those scars tend to become aggravated and inflamed.

That’s not to say that we’re not also a nation capable of much good. While some may scoff at the idea of the United States standing on the top rung of success and idealism, facts tend to bear it all out. We’ve managed, by hook or by crook, to cling to our status as world leaders. We’re the trend setters, and the icon for freedom and prosperity

America, even at her lowest, has always strived to be better. That is our saving grace. Is it any wonder that even now, as it was in the infancy of this free republic, people from all over the globe still want to be here?

Am I sounding a bit puffed up with my patriotic fervor?

Maybe, and you’ll have to forgive me my prideful moments, but anyone who can’t see the good in their home, choosing to wallow in only that which is distasteful or bad, should consider that perhaps, they’re part of the reason their circumstances have not been more favorable.

With all that said, I’d like to take a moment to discuss Asheboro, NC high school student, Ever Lopez. The senior caused quite the stir at his recent high school graduation, and unfortunately, his lack of gratitude for what this nation has afforded him is not an isolated incident.

To set the stage: On Thursday night, Asheboro High School held their graduation ceremony. It was the usual pomp and grandeur of the typical American graduation night, with the familiar blue gowns and mortar caps, golden tassels dangling, except for Lopez.

Lopez was born in the United States, but his entire family immigrated from Mexico. None of them have achieved the status of high school graduate, until Ever Lopez. How proud they must be.

I say that, because it makes sense to assume they want to assimilate and enjoy the American dream, so much of which begins, as a necessity, with education. I say that, but something went down in Asheboro and it’s troubling, to say the least.

Young Mr. Lopez was denied his diploma, not because he didn’t earn it or wasn’t an approved graduate. He did the work. He earned it.

No, Mr. Lopez made a decision to “represent” his Mexican heritage above his American achievement.

But Susan… [my liberal friends will insist]… the very core of America is that of the Great Melting Pot, made up of many cultures and ethnicities!

Nice story. No dice.  

School officials have made it clear that there was a dress code in place for the graduation ceremony. No one should be able to dispute this. There is always a dress code for graduation ceremonies.

For those like Lopez, who want to “express” some particular point of interest about themselves, the school has allowed for that expression to be laid out on the mortar board. Other students at the high school did that very thing, up to and including adding a Mexican flag to their caps.

Lopez, if he’s to be believed, is the one student who didn’t understand (or care about) the dress code. This wasn’t going to be a day to celebrate the achievements of the graduates as one, united body of students. In his selfishness, he wanted it to be about him. He wanted to stand out. He wanted to be noticed.

He got his wish.

Lopez, in an American high school, on American soil, decided to drape a Mexican flag over his shoulders, knowing full-well this would cause a stir.

Asheboro City schools said in a statement that the graduation dress code was shared with students ahead of time and allowed for students to decorate their graduation caps, but "the wearing of a flag of any kind is a violation of the dress code." In livestream footage of the graduation, a number of students are seen with alterations to their caps, featuring handwritten messages, drawings or flowers.

Because of his refusal to adhere to the dress code, Lopez was denied his diploma. Understandably, he and his family are upset, but the onus of this problem is not the “racism” boogeyman. The blame lies squarely with Mr. Lopez and his self-centered decision.

"The heart of the issue is the fact that the student did not follow the established dress code for the event and detracted from the importance and the solemnity of the ceremony," officials said in one of two statements. "Our dress code is in place to ensure the dignity of the event is upheld and is fair to all students."

Note the part that says, “all” students.

Lopez told ABC News, "When I got up there I went for the handshake and I wasn't thinking nothing of it and I heard her say, 'You can't wear that.' And I was in shock and confused. I was like, 'What?' She was like, 'The flag. You can't wear that.'"

The “her” in question was Principal Penny Crooks. Notably, Crooks didn’t have that conversation with anyone else, because every other student adhered to the dress code.

Does that matter to the perpetually aggrieved? Not one bit.

In fact, the school has received multiple threats of violence, in regards to the incident.

At least one supporter of Lopez remarked that he was proud of his country and should be allowed to show it.

His country.

The incident has made news across the nation, and his mother gave her reaction to The Washington Post:

“When I saw him walk with our country’s flag on his shoulders, I felt immensely proud and thought, ‘This boy was born here and he is not ashamed of his roots, of where his parents come from. He is proud of it,’ ” Lopez said in Spanish as she spoke to The Washington Post on Sunday.

“When he told me they refused to give him [the diploma], I felt rage and shame at the same time,” she said.

There it is again: Our country’s flag.

This is where the confusion sets in, and I’m forced to step on some “woke” toes.

If the country they’re so very proud of is not the United States, complete with all the opportunities it has afforded them, but Mexico, then why are they not in Mexico?

I’m pretty sure nobody went over and got them. They wanted to be here and did what they had to do to get here. I mean, love your roots, but a little gratitude for your adopted nation would not be out of line.

I mean, let’s be honest. Something about Mexico made the Lopez family say, “That’s it. We’re out!” You don’t pick up and leave glorious utopias.

Therein lies the nightmare of multiculturalism, at least, in this modern age.

For decades, the notion of a truly “United” States has been chipped away, as forces within have sought to push our populace into opposing corners, based on race, religion, sexuality, or politics. Surely, we began with the most noble of purpose and promise, but how long could we last, once everyone decided their story was the only one that mattered?

Multiculturalism was once our strength. It added flavor and character to the national tapestry. In fact, so much that is great about this nation is still tied to our vast and varied histories. We can still appreciate what makes us unique and wonderful, but if your worldview holds that this country can be bettered only by denying that we are a sovereign nation, then you inject poison into our bloodstream and become a wretched malady, doing immeasurable harm.

And yes, I know I run the risk of many saying I sound like a Trump supporter. I can’t be concerned about that when truth is on the line. If there’s any credit I give that gilded toad, it’s that he wasn’t entirely wrong about the immigration issue. He was wrong about the wall. He was outright lying to his gullible cult when he said Mexico would pay for it.

We have a real problem with people who have no emotional or patriotic affections for this nation feeling entitled to benefit from what she offers. Were it a human relationship, anyone watching from the outside would call it one-sided and abusive. These abusers aren’t just immigrants. They’re too often aided and abetted by American citizens, looking to get their woke cred by turning their backs on reason.

We need a return to the days when those who risked so much to make it to this nation were proud of where they were, not what they fled from. To be called “an American” was the prize. To assimilate and grow with this land wasn’t considered a betrayal of your roots. It was just gratitude and respect.

Does that make us better?

No, but if we are to survive, we have to insist that our foundations, our traditions – like high school graduations and those very simple codes and rules – be supported.

Back to young Mr. Lopez – he’ll be getting his diploma. The initial denial was a disciplinary measure. The protests and threats of violence against the school do little to convince him or his family that they were in the wrong, however. They feel they have an army at their back, and might makes right.

It doesn’t. It just muddies the waters and weakens the ties of national unity further.

How much more can we take?


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