Joseph O’Neill teaches at Bard and is the author of four novels, including The Dog and Netherland. His story collection, Good Trouble, was published last year.
 (August 2019)

IN THE REVIEW

Real Americans

Mosammat Rasheda Akter (center), originally from Bangladesh, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance while holding her daughter after becoming a US citizen during a naturalization ceremony at the New York Public Library, July 2018

This America: The Case for the Nation

by Jill Lepore

This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto

by Suketu Mehta
The cornerstone assertion of the Declaration of Independence is that government exists in order to secure the equal, inalienable rights of persons. This is the formal raison d’être and official ideology of the United States. It follows that those who fully embrace those rights—liberals—have political and patriotic legitimacy, and those who reject them lack legitimacy. Psychically, liberals often don’t seem to believe this. A deference to “Americans” inheres in their worldview, even if the Americans in question aspire to subvert our democracy.