So much has happened over the past 2 or 3 decades to upset the American way of life especially with problems related to immigration and the ever-present terrorists threats that many cry out “I want my country back!”
Just looking at the fallout from the terrorists’ attacks we have had to deal with legal and procedural changes that are without precedence. These are readily apparent when you consider the impact on our freedoms from laws like the Patriot Act and the establishment of Homeland Security. Further, we are reminded daily of the people and their deranged ideology who put us in this position every time we go through the previously simple process of boarding an airplane or have to go through some security screening checkpoint.
The balance of freedom and security has been so much a part of America since its founding that Benjamin Franklin said “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” Still Americans have had to deal with security and freedom concerns which resulted in the establishment of internment camps during World War II, unjustly imprisoning Americans of foreign descent, and later during the cold war when we had to deal with civil alerts, bomb shelters and the infamous House Un-American Committee. But the resulting fear and panic turned out to be temporary, even though we did not know it at the time.
Today, however, we face a different kind of enemy, one for whom time and death know no bounds, resulting in a seemingly never ending struggle that has recast the American landscape into one in which we are forced daily to reevaluate the freedoms and security we once considered our hard fought rights as Americans.
While 9/11 was a physical act, the more insidious threat today is the hijacking of our freedoms to use against us. This threat if not aggressively monitored and treated will, like a cancer, bring our American way of life to an end from the inside.
Turning to the immigration problem it is instructive to recall that immigrants during the great migration of the late 1800s and early 1900s were anxious to start a new life in America even to the extent of changing their names. They took their allegiance to America seriously and made an effort to learn English. This idea that “we are a nation of immigrants” is, however, no excuse to be lax on immigration laws and border enforcement today.
Today we are faced with some people who come here deceitfully with forged documents and hide behind anchor babies and tenaciously hold on to their birth country: waving the flag of their country of origin in the face of Americans, defiantly refusing to speak English and establishing enclaves where outsiders who don’t speak their language feel unwelcome in their own country. This simply says that we want to come here to take advantage of American hospitality and employment but we remain loyal to our country of origin. What an insult!
No one can deny that the 12 million or so illegal immigrants are not hard working and truly want to provide for their families. But if they want to come here to work then they should respect our laws and do it legally. The fact that the illegals are protesting is proof that they do not respect our laws and want changes made to suit them and to give them a pass. This is unacceptable!
So what can we as citizens do to preserve the way of life we hold so dear and for which many have sacrificed?
1) As citizens of a secular nation we must jealously guard and aggressively protect the Constitution especially the first amendment regarding the separation of religion and state.
2) Preservation of our rule of common law at all levels must be a top concern and priority of each citizen.
3) Criminal behavior as defined by our laws must be continuously and aggressively prosecuted especially crimes committed for so-called cultural reasons. A crime committed by someone for cultural reasons, e.g. honor killings, is still a crime.
4) We must continue to be tolerant of other cultural groups and make sure that they practice tolerance also. Tolerance is a two-way street. We may not like or understand their ways but intolerant behavior must be considered unacceptable. While the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech we need to be prepared to prosecute hate speech and hate crimes as defined in the statutes. Not to put too fine a point on it, but intolerance, whether it is homegrown or instigated by foreign voices, is un-American.
5) While we are being tolerant we must also insist that the common language be English. Constitutionally this is a tough one, but this needs to be done for pragmatic and economic reasons as well as for reasons of unity and to simply avoid communication problems that could result in disastrous misunderstandings in our multi-cultural environment. There are enough difficulties with the English language let alone adding other languages and the vagaries of translation into the mix.
6) We must hold our elected and appointed officials accountable for our immigration laws and the policing of our borders. This includes the process of issuing visas and the enforcement of visa time restrictions. Since 1924 we have had necessary immigration laws. It’s about time that they were enforced!
That’s my view, what’s yours?