Friday, June 29, 2007

Assimilation Brakedown

Fire of Liberty

Peggy Noonan has a good column over at which points out a little mentioned aspect of legal and illegal immigration to this country, which is that the current crop of individuals who choose to live and make a life in America are doing just that and nothing more. If you look back on this nation before the radicalism of the late 1960's you'll discover that new entrants in this country made it their duty to Americanize themselves by learning this country's ways, laws, language, history and culture thus giving themselves a clear break from the "old country" and allowing them to start life anew in this blessed country. I'd say that Noonan put it best when she noted the following:

My grandfather had his struggles here but never again went home. He'd cast his lot. That's an important point in the immigrant experience, when you cast your lot, when you make your decision. It makes you let go of something. And it makes you hold on to something. The thing you hold on to is the new country. In succeeding generations of your family the holding on becomes a habit and then a patriotism, a love. You realize America is more than the place where the streets were paved with gold. It has history, meaning, tradition. Suddenly that's what you treasure.

A problem with newer immigrants now is that for some it's no longer necessary to make The Decision. They don't always have to cast their lot. There are so many ways not to let go of the old country now, from choosing to believe that America is only about money, to technology that encourages you to stay in constant touch with the land you left, to TV stations that broadcast in the old language. If you're an immigrant now, you don't have to let go. Which means you don't have to fully join, to enmesh. Your psychic investment in America doesn't have to be full. It can be provisional, temporary. Or underdeveloped, or not developed at all.

And this may have implications down the road, and I suspect people whose families have been here a long time are concerned about it. It's one of the reasons so many Americans want a pause, a stopping of the flow, a time for the new ones to settle down and settle in. It's why they oppose the mischief of the Masters of the Universe, as they're being called, in Washington, who make believe they cannot close our borders while they claim they can competently micromanage all other aspects of immigration.

You'd think that the folks in D.C. would get the point, especially after this past week, that a lot of people in this country are not only worried about border security, amnesty, illegals declining wage/taking away jobs, but are also deeply worried about various immigrants (Mainly illegals) failing to assimilate to our way of life which in turn could forever change the melting pot that is this country. So until these individuals can secure the border and we start assimilating the folks we already have here thus setting them on a pace of self dependency, I cannot foresee the American people excepting anything like the Senate tried to push through this week. So thanks America for holding the Senate's feet to the fire and forcing them to kill the bill.

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