The one America is the America predicated on an abstraction; this America is a propositional or creedal nation, anchored to those famous words in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence. Out of that spring the "understanding" that America is exceptional, even indispensable for some or "a city on a hill." The irony is that this America is accessible to all, all humans, who genuflect to the abstraction; however, those who refuse to genuflect to the abstraction are outlaw: they are not Americans.
The other America is the America predicated on patrimony. One is an American because one is born into a cultural imagination which reaches back, not just to 1607, but to the traditions, customs and habits of pre-modern Europe. This America lives historically through the nurturing of home and hearth, kith and kin and the inherited cultural imagination. If the alien or foreigner enters into this America, he can, over time, as he seeks his niche in the social ebb and flow, become himself "an American." He does not have to subscribe to some abstraction.
That is why Americans of the first sort can assert that General Robert E. Lee was a traitor because by being a Virginian, he was defending a state which had rejected the abstraction though secession. The abstraction does not tolerate rejection. Lee, on the other hand, his American identity defined by patrimony could fully embrace any Union soldier as a fellow American.
This runs deep folks. Much of the turmoil we are experiencing today the a result of a clash between these two Americas. The fault line runs through regions, families and, if we are honest, ourselves. Which America is dominate in your perception of the world?
Robert Peters was born in the town of Natchitoches, Louisiana, the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase Territory. He was, however, reared in the Republic of Pollock situated in the eastern march of Grant Parish, carved out of Winn Parish and Rapides Parish for the purposes of looting by carpetbaggers, a fact betrayed by the name.