Friday, December 19, 2008

America = Patriotism?

From Q:

In simple terms, Americans are people that live in the United States of America. The question is, however, what defines an American. In other words, what separates the American mentality from that of the Europeans, or the Asians, or even the Africans. Is an American an extreme patriot? Is an American an immigrant with just a dream? Are we arrogant? Are we risk takers? Gamblers? Fat, spoiled, and rich?

The only fact that lies in this question is that since our independence, people around the globe have wanted to come here. They have associated our country with a way out of their problems and as a true land of opportunity. But why have we been able to establish such a fluid social ladder like not other country? Sure, other countries offer the same freedoms as us. Anyone from a third world nation would be content with a minimum wage job in France, or Spain, or even England. Why the USA? There are other capitalistic nations on Earth.

Anyway, these immigrants, the ones that chose America, what did they come here to accomplish? What kind of people are they? Are they Americans too? If they are not Americans, than what must they do to become Americans? This is the first question that I can answer to the best of my ability. In 1915, Teddy Roosevelt claimed that an Immigrant must pass a citizenship test and love America. I would have to agree with him. Until one can be a citizen and commit to being a member of this nation, they are not an American. If a legal immigrant does not wish to become a citizen, they still hold the affairs of their homeland over those of their new home. I do not consider them American. I am not saying that they must abandon their culture. They must always retain their heritage and acknowledge their origin, but they must be aware that they reside in America and should value the affairs of the US over those of their homeland. This also applies to illegal immigrants. They cannot take a citizenship test, so I consider their test their level of patriotism.

Think about it, the US started as a nation of Immigrants. The colonists moved to the Americas searching for a new life and new riches. Ever since then, people with a dream have continued to flock to America. In 2005, Dr. John Gartner claimed that America is a nation of immigrants, immigrants who seek a new life. I would agree with him.

The question that that rises is do people have to relinquish their old ways and customs to become Americans? I have previously touched upon this subject before. Crevecoeur would disagree with me. As an immigrant himself, his belief was that people had to give up their ancient ways and customs to become American. His belief is sort of like a chemical reaction. The substances mixed form a new substance, but each original substance loses its individual properties. My theory more accurately depicts a mechanical bond in which the two substances are forced together20to form a new substance, but each original substance retains its original properties. (For more info look up immiscible polymers) As long as the immigrants are loyal to the USA, they are American enough for me.

Americans don’t have to be immigrants. An American is a patriot regardless if the person retains their culture. To be an American in my eyes, a person just has to love America.

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