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“You Have To Commit!”

We were on the practice field preparing for a team that ran the option.  Our scout team was running the upcoming opponent’s offense.  To our surprise, the scouts executed the option perfectly, which left our outside linebacker frozen halfway between the quarterback, cutting off the block of a tight end, and a trailing halfback arcing toward the sideline.  “What the hell you doing—splitting the distance?  You’re neither fish nor fowl,” bellowed one of our coaches.  “You have to commit!

Whenever I hear of dual citizenship, I think of the coach’s words.  Today, we have people who are neither American nor foreign but something between, not fully committed to any particular country.  I was stunned a decade ago when Strobe Talbot declared in Time that nationhood and citizenship had become obsolete.  I am no longer stunned.  There is a growing trend toward dual citizenship, which suggests that the fierce loyalty and complete identification with the United States that I always thought was simply part and parcel of being an American is on the wane.  Moreover, there seems to be no stigma attached to dual citizenship.  This was not always the case.

When the Japanese began immigrating to the United States early in the 20th century, they were viewed with suspicion for several reasons; prominent among them was dual...

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