Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On being American

Most people think it's great that I'm a newly made American.  It's great to hear the congratulations that I hear from friends and peers alike, and I feel their acknowledgement is more of a reflection upon their attitude toward the United States than merely a kudos to me.  There are the occasional few who wonder why it is such a big deal.  What does it matter that I'm a citizen now?  Consider this:  Imagine living in a home but it's not your home.  Try living in a country your whole life and not have the legal ability to work there.  Live in a country your whole life and then feeling like a vagabond or a tourist, merely a visitor.  Then when you are in a country that you're an alien in, try participating in the local system and know that you can only voice your opinion and actually not make that voice known through a ballot.  And know that the very establishment of the land allows you to even voice your opinion, a privilege not granted elsewhere.

Even though these scenarios technically didn't apply to me, it was however very close to becoming a reality if I wasn't an American citizen now.  My permanent residency would be revoked; I would be merely a visitor, a tourist of the United States without the ability to vote, work, or live.  And if I wished to do these, I would have wait years to go through the bureaucracy that works to keep America resilient and safe.

America has given me and my family the opportunities for success.  It's brought me to where I am now.  Am I a hypocrite for being in Canada?  Not anymore than US manufacturers and companies that outsource their jobs to foreign countries.  My bottom line will end up in the United States.  

I am proud I am American.  I'm proud of her ideals.  And I believe that you can be patriotic and still believe that she has much to improve.  
I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.  
~ Abraham Lincoln


Kerianne said...

ah I see... what were you before?

Tony said...

This makes me remember a line from the movie National Treasure, when Abigail says "Oh, I am an American... I just wasn't born here."
To a great extent, I identify with this post, except, of course, I haven't lived here all my life.