A republic, if you can keep it
I returned bottles and cans to the grocery yesterday. As I waited in line at customer service to cash in my slips I noticed something on the counter in the back of the customer service area.
It was a belgian waffle maker. It’s no surprise to see a belgian waffle maker at a grocery store, but there was something about this one. The box was turned so that the words I saw were in spanish. You could still read belgian waffle maker, but the smaller print about its features was all in spanish.
First I wondered how many mexicans(cause that’s who we’re talking about) make waffles at home. I’m sure they eat them, but make them at home just seemed a stretch. Then I thought, whoever does probably understands english good enough that they don’t need the box half in spanish to understand.
Most of the Mexicans around live in the trailer parks. They live there cause it’s popular for Mexicans but also because they can’t afford much else. However that’s not how all the mexicans are, mostly the more newly immigrated ones. So not the ones likely to be buying Oster belgian waffle makers.
The ones who are probably likely to buy one are the family of my friends in-laws. Because their father is in management at a good size company they have a nicer house than me. Though they’ve since gone back to Mexico his job.
This coincides with a book I recently finished reading called, Unmaking of Americans: How multiculturalism has undermined the assimilation ethic.
The book provides a history of immigrants to America being assimilated into American society and how America was stronger for it and that under the current methods of multiculturalism the newest immigrants to America(mostly Mexicans) are being ill-prepared for life in America.
The book, which is from 1998, makes a strong case for Americanization. That a unified America of individuals is immeasurably stronger than an America divided by groups. One passage stuck out especially for me, it was a speech by President Woodrow Wilson speaking in Philadelphia at the first ever National Americanization Day on July 4, 1915.
You dreamed dreams of what America was to be, and I hope you have brought the dreams with you. No man who does not see high visions will ever realize any high hope or undertake any high enterprise, and just because you brought the dreams with you, America is more likely to realize the dream you brought. You are enriching us if you came expecting us to be better than we are, I certainly would not be one even to suggest that a man cease to love the home of his birth and the nation of his origin — these things are very sacred and ought not to be put out of our hearts — but it is one thing to love the place where you were born and it is another thing to dedicate yourself to the place to which you go. You cannot dedicate yourself to America unless you become in every respect and with every purpose of your will thorough Americans. You cannot become thorough Americans if you think of yourselves in groups. A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American, and the man who goes among you to trade upon your nationality is no worthy son to live under the Stars and Stripes.
This from the man who gave the world the League of Nations, he can hardly be called a nationalist.
Despite what some people think, America does not wish to force it’s culture upon its immigrants. It wants to absorb them into itself because it and they will be stronger for it. It does not want to denigrate their personal history, but to make it a part of its own history. I say this from a room in which I have souvenirs from my travel in every corner and still I would not trade those countries for my own.
I enjoy travel and I am at times frustrated with my country, but I still believe in it. I still believe because it is a country built not on an ethnic history but on an idea that all men have the opportunity to create their own lives, that is what unifies us in these United States of America.
Now I have to go satisfy my urge for waffles.
Posted on November 28, 2012, in Hope for America and tagged america, assimilation, english, immigrants, immigration, melting pot, multiculturalism, society, spanish, waffles, woodrow wilson. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.