The current debate over the Immigration Reform Act of 2007 is igniting great controversy. Those who are for the bill insist it is not a proposed amnesty. They say they are not pardoning political offences but rather recognizing people are here illegally and setting up consequences for it. Amnesty or not, many Americans lean towards our â€œAmerica as melting potâ€ foundation while others are concerned waves of immigrants could change our culture. But really, what the heck is â€œour cultureâ€ anyway?
How would the average American today define â€œour culture?â€œ Do the majority of Americans even feel a solid, unified identity? With American self-bashing at a peek and articles out there entitled, â€œWhy I am ashamed to be an Americanâ€, how can we be worrying about newcomers changing our culture? While there are still many U.S. citizens out there who clearly understand our own history and our Constitution, there is also a growing number of legal citizens who havenâ€™t a clue!
Having immigrants take civic classes and learn English is a good idea. But how can we formulate a plan of action for newcomers to our country when our own people are all over the map with their level of knowledge (or lack of). Before we get too hyped up on what immigrants need to do as they attempt to enter our country, lets re-define our own identity to our current citizens. This is what all of us should be taking responsibility for: LEARNING OUR HISTORY, GETTING INVOLVED WITH OUR COMMUNITIES, VOTING, LEARNING ANOTHER LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH and ATTEMPTING TO BETTER OUR COUNTRY AND CULTURE IN ANY WAY WE KNOW HOW! Lets stop being citizens who are self-absorbed, ignorant and can only speak one language and lets revisit our historic identity and help newcomers do the same.
How each person does this is up to them. Below is a set of suggestions, as I know many people just canâ€™t seem to muster the â€œooomphâ€ in their self-startersâ€¦..
1) STOP your purposeless addictions that waste time including eating everything chocolate in your house while watching junk on TV or online (i.e. What is Paris writing about from jail?). If you have to, disconnect your cable – no joke, I had the cable company come out onÂ last FridayÂ to take away all but the local stations and I am still going through MTV Real-World craving withdrawal!
2) Rent the video Donâ€™t Know Much about History by Ken Davis to enlighten yourself (if you are like many others who wrote notes to friends during history class in middle school, later did relearn it seriously in college but have since forgotten it all!)
3) Start receiving a quality newspaper weekly if day to day life has taken over and you have gotten out of the global news loop (or find yourself gravitating only to the fluff online or on E!) Personally, I like the NY Times/Sunday Edition.
4) Be sure to register and VOTE each election.
5) Start to Recycle (OK, OK, you are now thinking, what the hell does that have to do with Immigration?!? Trust me, if you are in favor of educating immigrants about our history and language, then you will realize your responsibility to do the same for yourselves. Once you start these steps (i.e.: reading the newspaper), you will be ashamed that your current state does not legally require recycling and you will take it upon yourself to recycle (or hire a private co. to do so for about $10/month).
Bottom Line: Lets ALL become responsible and take part in the betterment of our country for the sake of our current and future citizens.
Sources: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/DN-assimilation_07edi.ART.State.Edition1.431a596.html, http://www.postchronicle.com/commentary/article_21285147.shtml, http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_doug_sod_070607_why_i_am_ashamed_to_.htm