What Lincoln describes here is not a sovereign state ruling over people who share only a legal status. Instead, it is one nation bound together by something deep and profound. This is a glimpse of the alchemy that forges one people from many.
Stephens’s nightmares notwithstanding, nothing in Hamilton’s or Lincoln’s nationalism turned them into opponents of immigration. And neither was on record opposing Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas. Those who seek to elevate the national bonds shared by all Americans are not enemies of diversity. We’ve just focused on the next step: How do we unite a people so diverse?
Lincoln’s example looms large as we face the greatest threats to our unity in decades. America is unraveling into an unhappy confederation of hostile tribes. Both the extreme Right and the woke Left are seeking to impose a neo-segregation that divides us by the color of our skin. Large regions of our country have fallen into economic despair. Unprecedented numbers of Americans are choosing to numb their pain through drugs or end their lives through overdose.