American Values?

Bush was in Nebraska the other day, speaking out on the issue of immigration.

One aspect of making sure we have an immigration system that works, that’s orderly and fair, is to actively reach out and help people assimilate into our country. That means to learn the values and history and language of America.

What values would those be?

Family values? Latin America has a strong tradition of close-knit families. Immigrants already tend to value families.

Hard Work? That’s why most of them are here; to take the labor-intensive jobs for which employers refuse to offer a decent wage.

Liberty? Would they have made the dangerous and arduous journey had they not believed in liberty?

Religious values? We’re talking (primarily) about Latin Americans here.

America has no monopoly on any values. How condescending to imply that we do.

This is a good example of the common perception of American Exceptionalism—another form of crude pride.

Yes, they do need to learn something about the history of America (but then, so should a great many of the native-born citizens…). They need to learn the specifics about how the government works. But I think that most of them already have a fine grasp of American values.

As to the language, I will reiterate my stand: even if we assume that immigrant populations are not assimilating linguistically (which assumption, as Thom pointed out in a comment, is rather dubious), there is nothing wrong with being a multi-lingual nation. There are plenty of multi-lingual nations around the world, and they function just fine. Nobody is hurt if ethnic communities continue to talk amongst each other in foreign languages or create alternative-language media formats. America is about liberty, not English.

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2 Responses to “American Values?”

  1. Daniel Says:

    “America has no monopoly on any values. How condescending to imply that we do.

    This is a good example of the common perception of American Exceptionalism—another form of crude pride.”

    That was an excellent piece. Thank you for writing that. I wish other people could see that it’s this type of condescending world view that makes the rest of the world hate us.

  2. Jennifer Says:

    I agree w/ Daniel here. Too often the “GOD BLESS AMERICA” sentiment is tangled with the “AMERICA INVENTED MORALITY” sentiment – and both make me ill when I pause to consider how they appear to people from other countries. Sure, I love my country and fellow citizens, but I think we can learn a lot from other nations and cultures about values and ethics!!!
    – Jennifer

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