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The Great Freedom Robbery — American Immigration 2019
Robert Russell — Editorial
Robert Russell, is the founder and President of Robert Russell & Associates, centered in Chicago, Illinois.
It was a warm spring day in early May in 1988 as I walked down the street as usual, past the court house, on the way to my office in our small quiet town west of Chicago. Suddenly, I realized that people were singing somewhere in the distance . . . “America, the Beautiful”! Unusual on a Tuesday afternoon!
Walking around the courthouse corner I could see a crowd beginning to emerge from a side door of the old structure, the music getting stronger and more beautiful all the while. In a minute, there were thirty or forty people who had burst through the door and onto the sidewalk around me, still singing, “America, America, God Shed His Grace on Thee”! They even put an “Amen” on the last line after “From Sea to Shining Sea!”
And then they began embracing each other, wishing each other well and “Godspeed.”
Suddenly, I was surrounded and taken into their midst and into their absolute, nearly delirious joy.
Suddenly, out of the crowd came a part-time writer in our office, arm-in-arm with two other ladies, each one waving a small American flag with great motion and purpose and singing in perfect harmony.
Each one proudly displayed her new treasure, as they smiled, waving their flags, still humming, with tears of joy running down their cheeks. They and their colleagues had just been granted an American Certificate of Citizenship in “the most beautiful ceremony in the world” (their phrase), and suddenly I began getting a bit choked up myself. What a moment for them!
All three were talking at the same time, they told of the rabbi, priest, minister, and “another religious leader” who had just participated in the ceremony along with several Illinois and local government officials, teachers and sponsors who had helped them in their citizenship studies, family members, and local citizens simply interested in the event and its participants. By this time, there were nearly one hundred people in the crowd.
I congratulated the three, of course, and joined in the hand-shaking and hugging going on, now up and down the walkway around the courthouse, men, women, kids, families. Soon the crowd broke up, and each person or small group went about going out into their world, each new citizen proudly an American, to greet other Americans and tell them of their great fortune.
My writer and co-worker (now a “former Brit”) called it “far and beyond anything in my entire life . . . I am so very proud . . . . the wonderment will never cease . . . . we are all so fortunate. . . .” Although we have gone our separate ways for many years since that moment, when we do see each other occasionally at church, she will remind me of the thrill she carries with her at all times for having worked for — and deservedly obtained — her very own American citizenship. She represents the “proudest of the proud” Americans.
We who were born in America, this “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave,” do indeed take our citizenship for granted. Few of us have had the thrill of seeing others at the very moment their sacrifices and hard work opened that Great Door to Freedom for them and for their families and children: “Freedom,” the greatest synonym of all for “citizenship” in the American version of the English language. Those of us who have shared such a moment have seen a fever pitch, a high emotion, a gift greater than anything imaginable, all in one package. And we’ve seen happiness and thrill beyond any other measure.
Where has it gone, good friends and neighbors . . . and fellow American citizens? Do events like this occur anymore? Do new Americans proudly identify themselves? Do new Americans call themselves Americans or simply say, “I have citizenship,” or “I’ve gotten my papers.” Are today’s immigrants proud and thrilled to learn what their American citizenship means and where it originated?
Where has it gone? Can it ever return?
Victor Davis Hanson, in his essay entitled “We Should Seek to Preserve the Ideals That Made America Successful,” warns:
* “The history of nations is mostly characterized by ethnic and racial uniformity, not diversity.”
* “True Immigration Reform will integrate immigrants into a Society.”
Can it Ever Return?
* “America is history’s exception. It began as a republic founded by European migrants. Like the homogenous citizens of most other nations, they were likely on a trajectory to incorporate racial sameness as the mark of citizenship. But the ultimate logic of America’s unique Constitution was different. So the United States steadily evolved to define Americans by their shared values. Not by their superficial appearance. Eventually, anyone who was willing to give up his prior identity and assume a new American persona became American.”
* “When immigration was controlled, measured, and coupled with a confident approach to assimilation, America thrived. Various ethnic groups enriched America with diverse art, food, music, and literature while accepting a common culture of American values and institutions. Problems arose only when immigration was often illegal, in mass, and without emphasis on assimilation.”
* “Sometime in the late 20th century, America largely gave up on multiracialism under one common culture and opted instead for multiculturalism, in which each particular ethnic group retained its tribal chauvinism and saw itself as separate from the whole.”
* “Hyphenated names suddenly became popular. The government tracked Americans’ often complicated ethnic lineage. Jobs and college admissions were sometimes predicated on racial pedigrees and quotas. Courts ruled that present discrimination was allowable compensation for past discrimination.”
* Nonetheless, for those who see America becoming a multicultural state of unassimilated tribes and competing racial groups, history will not be kind. The history of state multiculturalism is one of discord, violence, chaos, and implosion.”
* So far, “America has beaten the odds and remained multiracial rather than multicultural, thereby becoming the most powerful nation in the world.”
We Should Remember That Diversity Is an Ornament, but Unity Is Our Strength — Angus MacDonald: A True Immigrant American
Having been born and raised just outside Melbourne, Australia, Angus MacDonald was a bona fide American immigrant. Traveling alone, he came to America after the peace treaties ended W.W. II, fulfilling a life-long dream to work, live, raise a family and contribute to his adopted nation. He did exactly that!
Angus ministered the Christian faith across America for several years before “finding his paradise” in Stillwater, Minnesota, where he continued his ministry and ultimately founded The St. Croix Review, where he and his wife raised and educated their family, and became active Americans in the community in which they lived, and which they dearly loved.
Angus’ most important contribution to his new country was to underline its best traits and assets and then to add a few from his homeland that would make America’s best better. In this simple philosophy may lie the best of what any immigrant can bring to our country, one which we might be wise to spotlight once again, for all who live here now and all who seek to come here in the future.
Even at this time, nearing America’s 250th birthday, America may realize once again and perhaps with greater depth that an immigrant’s greatest-of-all-gifts can be a trait of his or her nation that will enhance American freedom. Why is it likely that this may re-occur? Because new American citizens are exactly that: American citizens! And current Progressive opposition notwithstanding, most Americans want to make America great again!
It seems that Angus, President Trump, and our oft-revered and quoted President Ronald Reagan agreed totally on the famous Reagan admonition: “Ours is not to defeat Communism; it is to transcend it.” The President’s quote was so often quoted that its momentum grew into, “Ours is not to submit to our mistakes, but to transcend them.”
President Reagan’s powerful concept and adage forced Americans to think entirely differently than before; to envision a world without Communism, a condition which none of us living then had experienced or imagined. Looking at our daily challenges — our enemies, the obstacles in the road, without Communism breathing down our necks, became from that time forward a difficult but exciting process. And transcending it made vision not just a word describing some misty image, it made it a clarion call to a three-dimensional view of a freer, more democratic life for millions in the world.
Today we need to rekindle Ronald Reagan’s optimistic spirit, and we need to harness the power of the image that America still projects to the world — a supreme beckon of liberty, symbolized by the Statue of Liberty. We Americans need to promote the value of the assimilation of immigrants into our American way of life. America remains the foremost destination for the peoples of the world, because we are a good, great, free, and prosperous nation. But unless we reevaluate and promote American citizenship, and American culture, and the vital necessity of assimilation, America may become a tragic example of disappointing failure. Americans need to rediscover our historical and native self-confidence, and take pride again in being American. *