Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


October 29, 2013

We the People: Becoming the Land of Opportunity

CROSSVILLE — Many thousands of years ago, primordial humans migrated across a land bridge between what is now Russia (on the Asian Continent) and our state of Alaska. Part of North America was covered by melting glacial ice.  That may be why the immigrants turned south. 

The lines of descent are unclear, but there may be a link between those who crossed the Bering Strait many millennia ago and the Anasazi (the Ancient Ones) who once lived in the area of the present southwest United States near where four state corners meet. When the Anasazi disappeared, they left abandoned cliff dwellings clinging to the canyon walls of Mesa Verde. The Bering immigrants perhaps blended into extant tribes. Or, maybe, they fought with the Native Americans and lost.

The history of humanity is noted for fighting more than for Elysian accommodations. When the Europeans began taking over the “new land,” Native Americans were soon wishing the whites would go home. Instead, immigrants came in larger numbers and from more countries. They kidnapped and imported black men and women from Africa as slaves to do the heavy labor in cotton, sugar cane, rice and tobacco fields. The land became a patchwork of escapees from economic depravity and harsh religious oppression. 

Native Americans were killed or put on reservations. They couldn’t go home. This was their home.

Millions of Mexicans and Central Americans have fled to the U.S. over the past few decades in search of better lives for themselves and their children. They found freedom and made homes. But hatred has greeted the many waves of immigrants. Every migrant influx faced hatred from earlier migrants. Hatred for blacks was not confined to the South after our Civil War. Hatred became a norm during both black and white northward migrations. But, at least, many northerners loved the music and food of migrants who filled the demand for wartime workers.

The U.S. is still  dominated by Caucasians, but population growth is fastest among minorities. As change continues, it is important for children to learn how to think instead of how to hate. Not all parents today teach equality to their children, who may one day work for someone of a different color. According to the Census Bureau’s estimate for 2012, 50.4 percent of American children under the age of one year were in“minority” groups.

Census data summarized in the New York Times show that the population of the United States includes 30 million Blacks; 22.4 million Hispanics; 7.3million Asians; 2.0 million American Indians; and 9.8 million classified as “other race.” Migration and immigration have always been and will continue to be a heavy influence on what the nation is and what it becomes.

Many modern Caucasian families have extended members of other colors. Good parents today educate their children against racial hatred as the world becomes smaller.

Not all will willingly accommodate such change — especially elders whose attitudes are ossified. But we are all here only temporarily. The USA, as our founders understood, is always a work in progress. Today, nobody has the right to purposely hide a fighting chance for a better tomorrow from a child of any color.

It’s not always easy to break from a past when hatred for skin color was acceptable. Yesterday was not a far better place where everyone was more comfortable and more “American.”  Tomorrow, we could become what we pretend to be, the Land of opportunity for all. But we need to understand our real history and our responsibility to our own children in a rapidly evolving world.  It is up to us to not repeat mistakes of the past. 

• • •

This column represents alternative thoughts to other published columns in the Crossville Chronicle. “We the People” is published each Wednesday. Opinions expressed in “We the People” columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. For more information, contact John Wund, editor, at

Text Only
  • Lion and the Lamb: A promised land?

    Back in biblical times there was a group of people who believed that God had promised them a segment of land on this planet that would be theirs forever. Who could have known back then that this ancient promise and territorial justification would be used by their descendants today to claim the same segment of land?

    July 29, 2014

  • We the People: Bring back the American dream

    Our economy continues to expand. The stock market is at record levels, yet many ask why so many of us are struggling?  Barely half of us believe the American dream is attainable.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014