How can I just be a ‘correct American’? And, what is it to be an American anyway? What made my immigrant ancestors want to come here? The fishing?? No, it had to be more than that.
What makes more people want to come here than to any other country?
Canada, the closest culture to us than any other country, yet 30 TIMES more Canadians immigrate to American, than go the other way (according to an A.P. statistic last year). And they’re leaving behind some pretty good beer (and fishing), eh!
Here’s what’s being a modern American: I was pumping gas in Milpitas yesterday, because it was the cheapest place around – the gas station, not Milpitas – and being American is talking with a guy who’s interested in your cool car because he bought a used one like it off Craigslist, and I’m trying to encourage him to go 4wheeling with it, and I’m using pantomime because his English is very ‘new’ and we’re laughing and having a good time until our pumps click off. Being American is having fun rapping with someone from a different hemisphere.
Being American is having bunches of your neighbors on your same street from another hemisphere, or the lower 2/3’s of this hemisphere, or Canada, and you have a street party with crazy food covering every square inch of someone’s ping pong table dragged out to the cul-de-sac, and music is blaring, marguerites are slopping over, and all the kids are running around whooping it up and periodically recharging with massive gulps of homemade brownies while the adults catch up on how long the spouse has been unemployed and how much he’s fixing up the house. Being American is getting along with your neighbors, and discovering what a joy nearby friends are ... and knowing you’ll all have fun again next time you party together in the street. (do it Memorial Day weekend!)
And I get to look for any kind of job that I want. And I got to go to the school that I wanted. And I got to marry who I wanted. And I get to vote for whoever I want. And I can believe whatever I want to believe, and no one can jail me for it. And I can work my tail off for my dear kids, and no one’s going to take their future away from them.
And I can love my favorite thing about being American, and that’s being FREE. And I will welcome here anyone from anywhere who fights to save up enough money to come here and works their tail off to jump all the visa hurdles to make it. And I will join with all the rest of YOU to fight ANYONE who tries to take away my freedom, as my ancestors fought and shed their blood to do so.
American freedom is not free and must be fought for with diligence by each new generation.
Being American means getting to do what we want, and being happy that our neighbors get to do what they want, too. Yes, even if they get a better car than you. (But you can always get ‘em back with one of those annoying bumper stickers saying *your* kid is an honor student at the local middle school with a free scholarship to Harvard. That’ll fix ‘em!)