19 Sep 2022


We Must Not Be Enemies by Amitai Etzioni

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The United States presidential elections brought on a different view of the different groups in America. Nationalists have identified themselves as people who place the welfare of the community above all else. They reject all forms of globalization, free trade, open borders, and to some extent the human rights declaration by the United Nations. It is this group that made up nearly 60 million of the votes that went to the current 45 th president. Some of the citizens have labeled this group of people as being deplorable allowing for such a man as Donald trump to be the leader of the free world knowing his character was and is still questionable ( Etzioni, 2016) .The progressive groups in the country have been questioning where the system failed, but according to Amitai Etzioni, it is not the time to focus on the past, but look towards mending the future. Nationalists and progressives differ on their stand regarding the running of the country. The thoughts put forth by progressive thinkers are accurate and should be taken into consideration.

The country was thrown into disarray during the recession period with many American losing their incomes, homes and so forth. This situation brought on a sense of helplessness and the affected people were looking to find a savior who would rectify the state of the economy, Donald trump seemed like the right man for the job. President Trump is a rich, successful businessman and he wasted no time in giving the people the hope they wanted to hear, making America great again. Such a slogan meant that the current America was trodden with misfits and troublemakers who needed to be removed. Support for a man who displayed racism, misogyny, xenophobia among other vices did not sit well with progressive supporters.

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The aftermath of the election is not dwelling on the choices made but looking to gain the best from the situation ( Etzioni, 2016) . Not all Americans are on board with having a progressive state. There are those who are in support of building a wall along the borders, strict ban on immigrants from majority Muslim countries and other like-minded policies which will take the country back to darker days. Not all Americans who refer to themselves as nationalists can be reached by progressive thinking. Instead of progressive thinkers should appeal to their humanity and political stand ( Etzioni, 2016) . On the other hand, progressive thinkers need to quiet down and understand the frustration that these trump supporters and other nationalist face trying to rebuild the America they know and love.

Three arguments can be put forth as to why the thinking by nationalists is viewed closely with xenophobic thoughts. There is an opposition to free trade, a move that will ultimately ease the financial burden facing the country; they instead see the protection from free trade as protection from exploitation. The nationalists are opposed to immigration especially from cultures that have different views on their own. The ongoing war in Syria has displaced millions of innocent Syrians who are in need of a new home to settle and start afresh. Nationalist in the United States has voiced support for the travel and immigration ban put forth by the current administration. They see it as protecting their national identity from the taint of other cultures. Finally, they are opposed to universal human rights and they do this in the name of sovereignty and exceptionalism ( Etzioni, 2016). 

The main agenda as part of resolving the stalemate between these warring sides should be the reduction of all talk that is geared towards violence, prejudice, prejudice, and populism. Instead, the focus should move to solutions that help the common person and understand that each is looking towards the protection of the American culture. Nationalists are looking to retain the vision that shapes the United States, while progressive thinkers and other like-minded individuals are looking to protect human rights through free and fair treatment for all ( Etzioni, 2016) .

A community that is protected and one that thrives is that in which its children and members are taught the value of tolerance, respect, and dignity for fellow man. Every citizen of the United States should enjoy the same rights and freedoms as none is above the other. This is the point that nationalists are missing. By denying entry to deserving immigrants, they are locking out potential businesses, a wide array of talent that will be beneficial to the economy and the social structure if the country.

Communities need to be directed on a path that rejects dwelling on unfounded fears, example based on the religious of which lay in the religious background of some of the immigrants. Terror attacks carried out in the United States and other countries by groups claiming to do so in the name of Allah (God) have given a negative image to religion and the lack of proper education has meant that citizens are acting out of fear and this is setting back any progress made over the years. What each group forgets is that violence is not inherent in any religion ( Etzioni, 2016) .

Conclusively, progressive thinkers as they look to shape the world should be wary not to overstep their bounds. They should preach tolerance and nurture rather than denounce a certain class of persons for having a different point of view. They should be willing to respect other thinkers as long as they respect the rights and their actions are geared towards making the United States the greatest.


Etzioni, A. (2016, December 5). We Must Not Be Enemies: p rogressives who wish for a less reactionary America could begin by trying to understand the Trump voter . The American Scholar. Retrieved from https://theamericanscholar.org/we-must-not-be-enemies/#

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