I’m going to go off the reservation with today’s blog. In light of the midterm elections and the continuing focus on immigration and nationalism, I want to pen a few thoughts on Americanism.
Recently, two Latin American friends took their US citizenship exam. Their excitement and nerves prior to testing was very touching. They were equally worried about passing and were very humbled and grateful when they did. The both came to America legally, work and pay taxes and wish to be part of the American dream.
It got me to thinking about how important it is for me to be an American. How, even when – no, especially when, I disagree with my government, as I so often do, I still love my country, her people and her diversity. I am also very proud to welcome new citizens, and to recognize that America is still the country other countries aspire to, even if it seems we are nothing but despised. And even with all our political diversity, economic uncertainty and seemingly narcissistic self obsessiveness, we are still the most giving, freedom loving, accepting country on earth.
So, it hurts me to think Americans are turned against people wanting to find their place in a country that offers so much. It hurts even worse to imagine a government that creates such animosity with our neighbors to the south. Those who have chosen the perils of border crossing, do so at our government’s thinly veiled invitation. How could they know they are but political pawns in the serious chess game of power politics?
I have many friends from Latin American countries. What will I say next time we meet? I prefer not to be ashamed at my country’s behavior when I visit them. And yet I know they will not blame me or reject my friendship and that they will graciously welcome me back to their countries and hopefully recognize, that the government of a country is not necessarily a good representation of her citizens. And that her citizens are the heart and soul of a nation. And also, that politicians and government regimes pass, but the essence of a country’s soul and soil do not.
In the past few years, it has been painful to watch a government, and the only government in the world, disparage and apologize for it’s country’s greatness. I for one, never doubt my country’s greatness or her resourcefulness and resilience. I welcome our new young citizens with open arms and an open heart to the great country we call home, to America.