Wednesday, February 05, 2014


Tell me, what is your definition of Patriotism?

Mirriam-Webster defines it thus:

  • love for or devotion to one's country

Pretty simple, huh?  But there anything in that definition that says one's patriotic songs can only be sung in a single language?  I don't see that anywhere on Webster's page for "patriotism".

I could - kinda - understand if one were talking about a country like, say, France, where there IS a single language identified with the country, and is, in fact, mandated as such.  In fact, France actually has a government department dedicated to ensuring the "purity" of French!

But America has no such mandate, and there isn't an office in the government here - at any level - ensuring the "purity" of English!  What an impossible job that would be!   Remember, English is the language known for following other languages into dark alleys and shaking them down for loose words and grammar.  Then manages to mangle the pronunciation, meaning and usage!

So, what is going on with this anger over the Coke ad using several different languages to have people sing America the Beautiful?  You know, the patriotic song written by a lesbian?

I am not an empath, nor a psychic.  I cannot read minds.  But, I did grow up in a very conservative part of the country, to conservative parents.  I do have a good idea what is going through these folks minds, and that is pure and simple racism, or if you prefer, xenophobia.  Hatred or fear of foreigners, of people who are different.

Not patriotism.

This is a country that was BUILT on immigration.  Every single person in this country who isn't a native American is descended from immigrants.  All of our ancestors made that long dangerous trek across the oceans of this globe to land, uncertain, homeless, and often owning no more than the clothes on their backs, but with hope in their eyes.  Hope that the future they could make for themselves would ensure the welfare of their children and grandchildren.

Which, in the long run, for all of us, ensured the future of this country to become one of the beacons of liberty and the hope for a better future - beaconing to the entire world.  Read again the words written on the plaque at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

So, no, we have no right, no reason, and no call to look down our noses at anybody, no matter how long or short their family's sojourn on these shores.   We should be welcoming them, because it is the infusion of new blood, new minds and new energy that makes this country great, in wave after wave.

Irish, Chinese, Italians, Germans.  All immigrants, and all despised in their day.  All of those ethnicities have built a place for themselves in today's America.  Blacks, Hispanics, Japanese, each, in spite of the very tough nature of their past parts in the American stage play, have built places for themselves, too. Each of these ethnic groups, and dozens more like them, right up to the present day, add their own flavoring of spice to the American pot.

We call it a melting pot, but it is really more like a mixing pot.  A salad, if you prefer.

I've seen a number of Conservatives use that term derisively, as if the fact that each group having generally stuck together through the tough beginnings of their immigration here is a bad thing.

As if the English speaking folks didn't - and still do - just that!  It takes a lot of guts to stand in your racist little tribal enclave and accuse others of being racist.


This country is and was built on immigration.  I welcome every immigrant.  My mind soars at the sound of every differing language, every lilt of a foreign tongue added to the music of how the English language is spoken, and every foreign word we add to our vocabulary.

Ours is a rich culture, enriched from a past jammed with the differing traditions and customs of hundreds of foreign countries and a thousand ethnicities.  It is impossible to separate the customs of this country according to the lands and peoples from which they have been drawn.

This is the power of America.  Not the great aircraft carriers.  Not the intercontinental missiles, not the economic power of Wall Street.  Not the guns.

The people.  WE the People.  Together, living each of us with our own little versions of The American Dream.

The attempts of the right wing to stop or slow immigration would be the death of that dream.  What makes this country great is the very fact that all people everywhere can, should they wish, try to come here to build their own little American Dream.  Hundreds of thousands do, every year, from every corner of the globe, from every possible ethnicity, speaking every possible language.

Yearning to become just one more of that We The People spoken of in the Constitution.  Part of that great compact.

We should be in celebration of that desire.  We should welcome them with open arms, smiling faces.

They are our future.  They are the guarantee that this country will not lose its greatness, will not lose the energy that held that compact together for two hundred and thirty-eight years.

They are us.

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