Freedom Folks

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Foreigner at Home

I pulled into the McDonalds parking lot around 7:00 this morning. I left my laundry washing at the laundromat, and decided to grab a quick biscuit.

It took nearly five minutes to be served, although there was only one person in front of me in line. I waited while the transaction was completed in Spanish, then it was finally my turn. I got my breakfast and sat down, tuning out the conversations around me -- also in Spanish. Easily bored when eating alone, I focused on the piped-in music to keep myself occupied: insipid dance music -- also in Spanish.

I've been fortunate enough to visit several foreign countries in my life. It is challenging trying to communicate while surrounded by a language other than your own but, for the days or weeks of a vacation, charming. When I'm at home, in my own country? NOT.

I felt like a foreigner at home, and it really made me think as I sat there munching on my biscuit and sipping my OJ. My initial gut response was resentment. How's that for honest? I'm not proud of it, but I resented the fact that I was partaking in the oh-so-American crap-fest that is breakfast at McDonalds, surrounded by Spanish-speaking everything.

But it quickly gave way to something else, something that I'm not ashamed to admit, as I kept thinking about it. ANGER. Anger at the Americans who think it's a good idea to enable, encourage and embrace an American Tossed Salad instead of an American Melting Pot. And, most especially, anger at the politicians who have been elected to represent the best interests of the American people, and who seem hell-bent on dividing the UNITED States of America.

Because working toward a country where we are not united by our common language can only cause division, and division is never good for the whole. It can only cause problems. Why in the world would we want to set ourselves up to have to deal with that kind of division down the road?

English is the language of this country, but we are at a crucial point in our history where we have to fight to keep it so. Refusing -- or not caring enough -- to do so will tear this country apart like nothing we've seen since the Civil War.

What would you call the flooding of a country with illegal aliens who refuse to leave? What about a government that allows it to happen (via non-enforcement of existing laws), and whose response is to pass legislation forgiving illegal entry, illegal visa overstays, working illegally, using fraudulent documentation, and the list goes on? What about our own citizens who would laugh this off, say it's no big deal, and perhaps facetiously suggest that maybe we should just all learn Spanish.

I don't know about you, but I call it a war in progress.

If you aren't fighting yet, what the hell are you waiting for?

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