Sun 16 Jul 2006
I have written on the nature of nations in a previous post. True nations are brought together by a commonality of the peoples’ goals. The United States began as a white protestant nation of European exiles. From the beginning they had their differences, but due to the work of an extraordinary group of founders they practiced the art of compromise.
The country went through a civil war when the economic interests of the North and the South diverged. It was held together through the force of arms and eventually the wounds were healed by the export of the North’s industry to the South.
Immigration has caused alarm over waves of immigration, the Irish, the Chinese, the Jews, the Poles, the Italians, East Asians and more. Lady Liberty’s open arms welcomed many to the shores of the United States. Each has brought their own culture and religions, but each came in search of the “American Dream” and found assimulation into the secular culture of the United States is the key to reaching that dream.Previous waves of immigration found their way into the mainstream of American life through learning English and buying into the belief that America is the land of opportunity. By the second generation, the children of immigrants were educated in the history and belief system of the “American Way”. There seem to be four groups who have been bypassed in the process of assimulation. Assimulation into economics, intermarriage, and the cultural heritage of the country is much of what holds America together. Their continuation in standing apart may serve as the catylist of the next great crisis for the United States.
Blacks whose ancestors were held as slaves have had a particularly difficult time in the American assimulation process. When the slaves were freed seven or eight generations ago, they were not given the opportunity to share in the American bounty. Jim Crow laws restricted what Blacks could do in daily life and commerce until only two generations ago. These laws dampened any aspirations of the people for advancement. In the last fourty some years Blacks have made great strides, but many remain greatly underemployed, incarcerated and dependent on public assistance.
Aliens present in the United States illegally are a second group that divide America. Guaranteed to be economically exploited, and without the privileges of legal residency, there is little reason to wish to seek assimulation. Trying to keep a low profile to avoid deportation and living in marginal economic conditions, they are caught in a double bind. They keep allegiance to their home country because they might find themselves send back at any time.
Native Americans have been exploited more than any other group in America. Throughout history Natives have had their land stolen, their culture suppressed, been introduced to terrible new diseases, murdered wholesale and been economically suppressed until recently. Unfortunately the recent economic upturn in Native American’s fate is based upon gambling ventures run by others, and not on viable business ventures that Native Americans can run and control themselves. Hopefully, the income that the tribes and Indian Nations now have will serve long term goals, and not be squandered. With their new economic power Native Americans may join the “Melting Pot”.
Some Cubans’ and other political refugees’ situations are also problematic. Many of these folks wish to return to their homeland under different political leadership. As such, the first generation, and some later generations do not wish to assimulate into American culture. They want to go home! Since South Florida is now politically dominated by Cuban culture and political power, it has input into American international affairs out of proportion to the Cuban population, and can cause stresses in the political fabric of the United States.
For America to remain a successful nation it is essential that our citizenry have some common ground. The English language serves as one essential commonality in our successful Nation. Unless all the people can express their ideas in an common arena it is impossible to have meaningful political discourse. All citizens should be able to read and write fluently in English. I believe that it is in the best interests of all communities to make free English language courses available to all within the community.
A second area that must be improved is the assurance that anyone who wishes to work in America has a real possibility of achieveing the “American Dream”. This is our religion, the reason why most of our ancestors came, and still remains a viable goal for America. We need to specifically assure that Blacks and Native Americans can see a route to economic stability and power as a result of their labors, and that Illegals are not exploited because they are afraid to speak up about abuses.
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