Private Wants | Teen Ink

Private Wants

December 3, 2019
By Rhiannon_4 DIAMOND, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Rhiannon_4 DIAMOND, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
62 articles 87 photos 200 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both.
- Native American proverb

Do not go gentle into that good night but rage, rage against the dying of the light.
- Dylan Thomas

What is past is past -- it is the present and the future that concern us.
- Hiawatha, founder of the Iroquois Confederacy

Former United States representative Barbara Jordan’s claim that “private wants” threaten national identity is misleading. She depicts America’s greatest danger as a retrogression to a collection of interest groups serving only their private wants, but the United States has always been a collection of interest groups fused together by our shared ideals, laws, and morals; coming to each other’s aide in times of need. Therefore, while her claim has merit, it is wildly incorrect.

            Our country was built on the idea that people of all backgrounds can live in unity and peace, and it’s because of this idea that we now have such a diverse country. Our collection of “interest groups” aren’t cites, suburbs, regions, or individuals; our interest groups are our different cultures and peoples, separated yet united under our common flag. Although the United States is an amalgamation of vastly distinct people, when we as a country are faced with adversity, we set our differences aside and unite as one for the greater good.

            In 1775, Patrick Henry delivered his “give me liberty, or give me death!” speech to the Second Virginia convention in Richmond, Virginia. In his speech, Henry asserted that Virginia militia was obligated to aide Massachusetts in its war against the British, even though Massachusetts was far away and the United States did not yet even exist. He argued for this because he knew that colonies must work together if they were to secede, and even if they had different religious or political beliefs, they fought for a common cause that later unified them into one of the strongest nations to ever exist. While the America of today is much different than it was in the late 18th century, we still come together to help and heal each other, and we will never cease to be one united nation.

            Of course, some might argue that our country is already becoming divided, and it’s only a matter of time before our unification deteriorates completely. For example, gentrification is seen as a cause of division, threatening national identity through the desire of wealthier individuals to remove poorer individuals from their neighborhoods. I, however, argue that our country is no more divided now than it’s ever been; if our nation’s unity managed to survive the Civil War—which pitted brother against brother—it would take an unfathomable challenge to jeopardize our nationhood.

            Barbara Jordan claims that “private wants” will bring destruction to our nation’s unity, but this will never happen simply because America has survived worse. Our unification withstood the Civil War, and throughout our history, we have banded together to aide each other in times of need. Different groups have always had “private wants,” we merely have to hold our collective nationhood above these private wants if we wish to keep our union.

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