Time was, when someone used the term American, or Canadian, Briton, or German, you knew what he meant.  The man or woman in question was white and had a name such as Smith, Jones, or Muller.  Or the American might be black, most likely a descendant of slaves.  Perhaps he was an Indian, meaning an Apache from Arizona, not a Brahmin from Bombay.  But alas, the neocons and their leftist media allies tell us, you never know.  America is not a real place with a settled language, culture, religion, and ethnic core but an “idea.”  Anyone who accepts this “idea” or “proposition,” as they also call it, is an American.  To paraphrase the late Samuel Francis, that would include Ubangi women with lip plates large enough to inscribe the Declaration of Independence and Constitution with room left over for the Federalist.

Thus it is that Arab terrorists living in the West, by virtue of birth, now rate identification as “Americans,” “Canadians,” “Britons,” or “Germans.”  Consider some recent headlines.

Most recently, from msnbc.com, we learned that a “Canadian Gitmo prisoner admits he was [a] teenage al-Qaida militant.”  The name of this “Canadian”?  Omar Khadr.  If that doesn’t sound “Canadian,” perhaps that’s because it isn’t.  His parents were Egyptian and Palestinian.

On September 8, a “Briton” named Abdul Jabbar (no relation to the man whose parents named him Lew Alcindor) was among the terrorists killed in an American drone strike in Pakistan.  Jabbar commanded something called the Islamic Army of Britain.  Authorities connected him to the failed Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad.  Shahzad was a “Connecticut man” who, some news reports said, planted his car bomb because of “mortgage woes.”

CIA drone strikes killed eight “German” militants in that attack and eight more in October.  Among those killed were a “German of Syrian descent” and a “German of Iranian descent.”  Oddly, none of the dead were named Otto or Herman, although one terrorist the authorities arrested in July was Ahmed Sidiqui, “a German from Hamburg.”

By this leftist reckoning, Nidal Hasan, the Muslim terrorist who killed 13 Americans at Fort Hood in November 2009, was a “Virginia” man because he was “born in Arlington.”  His parents were Palestinian immigrants, but he was “homegrown.”  “Homegrown” is the official media term that implies that some uniquely American pathology drove him to begin murdering American soldiers while shouting “Allahu Akbar!”  Time was, “homegrown” “Virginia men” had names like Washington and Lee.  And Jefferson, Stuart, and Pickett.  Now, Virginians are named Nidal.

Or perhaps Omar Abu Ali.  A graduate of the Saudi Islamic Academy, just a stone’s throw from Mount Vernon and Gunston Hall, Ali is the estimable citizen convicted of trying to assassinate President George W. Bush.  But he was, Wikipedia assures us, an “American.”  He was born in Houston to Jordanian immigrants, which means he is also a “Texan.”  Just like Stephen Austin and Coke Stevenson.

Examples abound, but you get the point.  American doesn’t mean much anymore.  Any member of the human race, from Eskimos who dine on whale blubber to the neck-stretching Kayan women of Burma, can be an American (or Canadian, Briton, or German), as long as they abide an “idea” and a “proposition.”  They needn’t speak English.  Nor know Melville and Twain.  I don’t know what Germany’s and Britain’s “ideas” are, but most of the immigrants who come here don’t much care about the neocons’ “idea,” if they even know what it is.  As for this land’s laws, culture, language, and history, the real things that make it unique, the immigrants care even less.  Boone and Crockett?  They don’t understand them.  Common civility and the law?  They don’t understand why the law forbids beating your wife or mowing your daughter down in a car because she is “too Westernized.”  Or why bribing cops and politicians is a crime.  They come to find their fortune.  They come to milk the welfare state.  They come to kill us.  Or maybe it’s just their “homegrown” children.  So much for “assimilation.”

Which brings us back to the media.  They will hear none of this.  A pack of immigrants taking the oath of citizenship, having passed a dumbed-down first-grade civics test, “diversifies” the front page and proves the merit of the “idea.”  Anyone can be an American.