Dropping a hyphen like it’s hot! ~Brooke McGowan on Maneesh Bhatnagar
Every so often, we come across people who are truly stellar Americans. Their commitment to our culture and our Constitution is evident in the things they say, and in how they live and love America.
Here at Unhyphenated America, it’s our desire to highlight those amazing Americans.
With that goal in mind, I’d like you to meet Maneesh Bhatnagar, a proud Texan of Indian descent who has boldly embraced the American dream. I met Maneesh on Facebook where he was referring to himself as the “NonHyphenated” American.
Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing him for this piece. Maneesh is the epitome of the American dream. Working for a Fortune 500 company affords him travel, and the ability to see many parts of our great land. As such, he meets all kinds and creeds of the “American breed”.
Here is his story:
“I grew up in a socialist country, knowing firsthand what doesn’t work, which is why I chose to come here to America. It amazes me that some people born and raised here dislike it, and in some cases even hate this country despite the unlimited opportunity offered here. Socialism is a disaster to the human spirit that creates widespread misery. If America goes the wrong way, there is no other leader to bring the world back.”
I asked him, “Why do you think we take our lifestyle freedoms for granted?”
“The human condition is such that if you’ve always had something, you assume it’s going to be there…but once people travel to Asia, or parts of Europe… and talk to people, you begin to understand what makes America prosperous. What we have as a system enables people to be the best they can be and utilize their God given talents. It’s not perfect. [But] There is no other place you can be born poor, or come here with literally no money, and as you pursue a passion and do well, you can be recognized for your talents and the sky is literally the limit for what you can achieve for yourself and your family. Anywhere else in the world, if born on the wrong side of the tracks, virtually there is no way to improve your status. Here it is not an anomaly…”
Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said he’d never known a well-traveled bigot?
“Traveling… makes me appreciate how good you have it here in America. People just assume I’m a liberal by looking at me.”
I asked Maneesh what personal experience that caused him to drop the ‘hyphen’ and just refer to himself an American?
“I view immigration as not just leaving a country and coming to another… it’s about allegiance to the American Constitution, the legal system, the culture. You don’t just abandon your personal beliefs, religion or ethnicity – you still have those – but you make an attempt to assimilate, follow the law, understand what makes the country so great.” (that’s why the citizenship test would fail the average American high school graduate – history, culture, purpose of America)
He says that hyphenating sub-groups is an “intentional way to divide people… and coming from India, the way the British ruled India, they pitted one person against another, one kingdom against the other with religious differences, caste differences, that is how they were able to control a highly populated country with vastly different people. I see the same thing that liberals use,divide and rule.”
“One of my biggest pet peeves is unassimilated Americans. If you are here legally, you’re an American – you’re one of us!”
“Your allegiance is to a set of ideas, and no other nation in history is formed on a set of ideas. They are all formed on geographical location, how they look, or their religion. If we break that common bond, we become like Europe, and that’s not why I came here.”
His tenor got me wondering, Who in our political spectrum, does he most admire? “Growing up in India, my hero was Reagan. I grew up listening to his speeches… I wanted to come to a country whose leader was so eloquent, so passionate… and sadly so much of the faction of the Republican Party has gravitated away from him.”
“Ted Cruz would also top my list… Louie Gohmert, Allen West… ”
He admits, although he’s not his governor’s biggest fan, that what Rick Perry has done for Texas in limited government and concern for national security emulates the Reagan ideal. And also Scott Walker, stood by his principles, and bravely fought the recall.
When asked do you have any aspirations to serve? Maneesh says “For our constitutional system to work, we need an educated electorate, people engaged as a check and balance… my role is to reach people who may not be approached by somebody else… I bring up political issues and discuss with people as I travel… If I can steer the conversations to ideas, like why minimum wage is wrong, why a free market health care system is the way to go, why a weak America causes chaos across the world… if people are educated on the right principles, they automatically gravitate to the right candidate. Principles last forever.”
Noticing his sense of humor in his postings over the past year or so, I mentioned his particular “style,” noting it is similar to ours at Unhyphenated America. He replied,
“For people to be attracted to our side, you’ve got to say it like it is, but also be the happy warrior, overly optimistic, and have a sense of humor, not take ourselves too seriously, and not get too bent out of shape. If I want to attract a person in the middle to my side, that’s the way to do it, not just beat them over the head or be so high and mighty like the liberals.”
And THAT is why Maneesh Bhatnagar is our highlighted Unhyphenated American.