This I Believe

Renis - Royal Oak, Michigan
Entered on April 19, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: immigrant

I believe in America. I believe America will always make the right choice no matter how difficult the issues or fractious the debates.

Over the course of the last few weeks I have seen my fellow immigrants take to the streets demanding inclusiveness in the fabric of American society. I have delighted upon the sight of the protesters because it is my belief that more so than an immigrant show of force, a voicing of their frustration or a simple demand for legalization, the protests are in of themselves a show of American-ness.

I see American-ness of various stages on the face of every protester. Every immigrant in my opinion goes through the same steps of assimilation: First, the unavoidable cultural shock; next, silent endorsement of mass cultural sins such as over consumption and living beyond one’s means; then the phase of longing for the old country usually manifested through some sort of nationalism; to be followed by more assimilation usually characterized by denial of the old country and its values; all this leading to the last stage in which the immigrant has love and respect for the old country but would rather be a couch potato and watch television for two weeks than visit his aging parents back home, this degree of individualism of course, being the highest form of American-ness.

And yet, while bearing all this in mind, I fully understand the harsh reactions of some of my fellow Americans. Immigration waves bring new groups who go through a long assimilation process during which they inevitably alter the status quo. It takes a while getting used to, but in the end we do. After all we got used to the Eisenhowers, Buchanans, Hoovers, then the Moynahans, Kennedys, McCarthys, and of course the Goldwaters, Kissingers, Levins, not to mention the Gulianis, Alitos, LaGuardias, or the Brzezinskis and the Chomskys. Whereas it may seem as a bit more difficult to get accustomed to the Villaraigosas, Abizaids, Chaos or the Nushajs for that matter, I am absolutely certain that every generation of Americans before us felt the same. So, as always, our history ought to be our guiding light for the future.

Our founding fathers in ensuring the right of all Americans to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, struck a cord with all of humanity, the tune of which has been luring “the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free” to our shores ever since. This I believe: No matter what the resolution to the current eleven million undocumented immigrants and those that will follow in the future, the American experiment will succeed. Our future and that of the world cannot lie in hundreds (or thousands for that matter) of nations each composed of one ethnic group. I believe America is the future, and the world will inevitably adopt her experiment: A global interethnic community of increasingly dissipating borders where all are welcome, always.