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Friday, April 04, 2008
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I live in what I consider a fairly typical American neighborhood, as far as I can tell. The average incomes appear to vary pretty widely, with no obvious super-wealthy, and no homeless wandering around. It's not too much of anything one way or another ethnically, although there is a fair representation of different people. It's a nice place to live, for the most part.
There are several restaurants within walking distance, and it occurred to me that these places indicated something pretty cool about America. And it's not because there is a pizza place, a French restaurant, a good Mexican joint, a Taco Bell, a doughnut place and a sushi bar. That would be enough to indicate some of the diversity that makes this country great, but it's not that simple.
The pizza restaurant is owned and operated by Vietnamese. The sushi bar is staffed with Mexicans. The doughnut shop is owned and run by Filipinos. And the Taco Bell is staffed by Russian kids who scream at each other in the mother tongue when I'm ordering Double Decker Tacos. I think it's hilarious.
I don't know if there are French people at the French restaurant. I don't care for that sort of food.
I will admit that the pizza isn't the best I ever had, but I don't care. I just like that we're far enough along in this country that immigrants can come here and set up whatever sort of business they want without feeling like it has to be some Old Country thing. I like that the Vietnamese ladies and their little boys speak English as well as I do, in addition to the language they grew up with. I like that they said, to hell with it, we want to sell pizza, not just pho and com tam, and this is America, and if we have a good enough product, we'll make money.
All countries have immigrants that help shape the culture, but not having traveled abroad at all, I don't know if other places have this sort of cultural branching out like here. Maybe it's just assimilation, and nothing more, but in this context it seems positive. I think people should be aware of their own culture, but it shouldn't have to shape every aspect of one's life. Be whatever you want to be. Pass on your heritage, and be a part of the American one, too. Speak English out of the house, and as many languages as you know at home.
This country is not what it was fifty years ago. Anyone who mourns for the "good old days" is a dinosaur. Old people pine for the 50s. Well, not the black ones so much. Baby Boomers get misty-eyed over the 60s, but most of them accomplished very little aside from horrifying drug abuse and even more appalling hygiene. I suppose it's good they got all of that out of the way before completely selling out this country to the highest bidders since they started running everything back in the 80s.
America is not Ward and June Cleaver anymore. People like Tom Tancredo are utterly laughable, and I wish I could whisper in his ear at night, and tell him the truth, that his great-grandchildren are going to be brown, and probably speak several languages. America isn't going to last forever, but it won't be immigrants that bring it down. Hell, even now, they're one of the few dependable things that make this thing go.
Well, that and tax cuts.
posted at 8:16 PM
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