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Happy Fourth Despite It All ^ | July 4, 2014 | Mona Charen

Posted on 07/04/2014 7:10:03 AM PDT by Kaslin

On July 4, I plan to celebrate this nation's birth with something approaching devotion. I will so despite the fact that each day's news brings fresh reasons to worry about the future.

I could list the things that worry me, but you know what they are. They probably worry you, too, but the Fourth of July is a time to elevate and celebrate rather than fret. So here's a story:

Last week, I was in Europe and had dinner with a European gentleman. He is very successful and pretty happy with his lot. As sometimes happens when people of different cultures speak, I didn't understand something he was telling me. He kept emphasizing how important it was, when he was young, that he be good at sports, because he was an immigrant to the country he grew up in. I was a little slow to see the relevance of this, until at length, I got the picture. As the son of immigrants to Germany, he wasn't accepted by his peers. He felt his outsider status acutely. Excelling at soccer gave him some measure of acceptance.

We are again embroiled in a domestic fight over immigration policy. The Obama administration is confronting the consequences of its unilateral decision to grant permanent residency to the children of illegal immigrants as a wave of unaccompanied minors is dropped at our borders. Characteristically, President Barack Obama sees the problem not as a) something his own policies created or b) something he must grapple with as leader of the nation in a conscientious fashion. No, he sees it just as an opportunity to score political points against Republicans.

But putting all of that aside for the moment and thinking back to my "German" dinner companion, our American capacity to adopt immigrants and accept them as fully American remains remarkable and probably unequalled anywhere in the world. It's a confirmation of the cliche that you cannot become French, Irish or Italian by immigration. You'll always be viewed as a transplant. But anyone from anywhere can become an American. What defines us is not language or ethnicity or religion but a shared dedication to certain propositions. I can't prove this, but I suspect that even the most die-hard opponent of illegal immigration would be generous and open to any legal immigrant who happened to cross his path. He'd make an effort to pronounce his name correctly and would ask about his family. In fact, that die-hard would probably be kind even to a known illegal, because most Americans are generous. Welcoming newcomers is written into our DNA.

If anything, we've leaned too far in recent years toward multiculturalism and separatist identities. Some of our thought leaders appear to think it's presumptuous to teach our ways to immigrants -- though most immigrants are eager to assimilate and sacrificed much to join us. The liberal project to make Americans adapt to immigrants rather than the other way around is one of the reasons some Americans balk at increasing immigration.

Charles Murray argues in his short monograph for the American Enterprise Institute that American exceptionalism is composed of four elements that, taken together, constitute the unique civic culture of the nation. The four traits are industriousness, egalitarianism, religiosity and community life.

Religious belief and engagement are declining but remain relatively strong. A Harris poll found that 23 percent of Americans describe themselves as "not at all religious" in 2013, almost double the number who said that in 2007. The percentage of Americans who profess a belief in God (74) remains significantly higher than most European nations. Seventy-three percent of Frenchmen told Gallup in 2007-2008 that religion is not important in their lives, along with 63 percent of Russians, 71 percent of the British and 59 percent of Spaniards.

Industriousness is strained by the deadening hand of the regulatory state, but remains more robust than in other countries.

Egalitarianism, by which Murray means the belief that each person is of equal worth, whatever his income or family, remains a firm conviction.

And civic engagement, though shouldered aside in a thousand ways by the vast octopus of government, continues to chug along, creating associations, committees, councils and clubs to improve life for all. Out of curiosity, I Googled "English as a Second Language" classes in my area and discovered a vast network, including ESLIM (English as a Second Language and Immigrant Ministries), a program of the Methodist Church, the Northern Virginia Community Colleges and many others.

Worth some fireworks, I'd say.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial

1 posted on 07/04/2014 7:10:03 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Happy Fourth to all my fellow Freepers!

2 posted on 07/04/2014 7:13:43 AM PDT by RIghtwardHo
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To: Kaslin

Happy Independence Day to all...

3 posted on 07/04/2014 7:13:52 AM PDT by Tennessee Nana
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To: RIghtwardHo
"Happy Fourth to all my fellow Freepers!"

DITTOS! ! ! ! !

4 posted on 07/04/2014 7:20:03 AM PDT by DeaconRed (Why would ANYBODY want to be President after the mess ZERO is leaving?)
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To: Kaslin
We should celebrate Independence Day for as long as we can. Might not be able to one day.

With all the illegals coming in, look for the 4th of July to be replaced by Cinco de Mayo.

Happy Independence Day to all. May God one day turn His face back toward this once great nation.

5 posted on 07/04/2014 7:28:14 AM PDT by fatnotlazy
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To: Kaslin

We’ve made it to 238 and we’ll make it to 239 God and Patriots willing.

6 posted on 07/04/2014 7:41:17 AM PDT by CARTOUCHE (9999 EOM)
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To: Kaslin
Happy Independence Day to all Americans from this Canuck!

Though we have our differences, as all neighbours do, today is a good day to remember the words of Gordon Sinclair's June 5, 1973 broadcast on CFRB: "Let's Be Personal" (Broadcast June 5, 1973 CFRB, Toronto, Ontario):

Topic: "The Americans"

The United States dollar took another pounding on German, French and British exchanges this morning, hitting the lowest point ever known in West Germany. It has declined there by 41% since 1971 and this Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least-appreciated people in all the earth.

As long as sixty years ago, when I first started to read newspapers, I read of floods on the Yellow River and the Yangtze. Who rushed in with men and money to help? The Americans did.

They have helped control floods on the Nile, the Amazon, the Ganges and the Niger. Today, the rich bottom land of the Mississippi is under water and no foreign land has sent a dollar to help. Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy, were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of those countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

When distant cities are hit by earthquakes, it is the United States that hurries into help... Managua Nicaragua is one of the most recent examples. So far this spring, 59 American communities have been flattened by tornadoes. Nobody has helped.

The Marshall Plan .. the Truman Policy .. all pumped billions upon billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now, newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent war-mongering Americans.

I'd like to see one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplanes.

Come on... let's hear it! Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star or the Douglas 107? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all international lines except Russia fly American planes? Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or women on the moon?

You talk about Japanese technocracy and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy and you find men on the moon, not once, but several times ... and safely home again. You talk about scandals and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everyone to look at. Even the draft dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, most of them ... unless they are breaking Canadian laws .. are getting American dollars from Ma and Pa at home to spend here.

When the Americans get out of this bind ... as they will... who could blame them if they said 'the hell with the rest of the world'. Let someone ELSE buy the Israel bonds, Let someone else build or repair foreign dams or design foreign buildings that won't shake apart in earthquakes.

When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke. I can name to you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble.

Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

Our neighbors have faced it alone and I am one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles.

I hope Canada is not one of these. But there are many smug, self-righteous Canadians. And finally, the American Red Cross was told at its 48th Annual meeting in New Orleans this morning that it was broke.

This year's disasters .. with the year less than half-over… has taken it all and nobody...but nobody... has helped.

7 posted on 07/04/2014 7:45:27 AM PDT by A Formerly Proud Canadian (I once was blind but now I see...)
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To: Kaslin
Some of our thought leaders appear to think it's presumptuous to teach our ways to immigrants -- though most immigrants are eager to assimilate and sacrificed much to join us. The liberal project to make Americans adapt to immigrants rather than the other way around is one of the reasons some Americans balk at increasing immigration.

The quote above really struck a chord with me. This afternoon I'm going over my sister's house to celebrate with my family, which includes LEGAL immigrants from Venezuela, Peru, Columbia, and Mexico. They have all become true Americans. One of them, the one from Columbia, is on leave from the Coast Guard, where she interdicts drugs and illegal immigrants. They all believe in America, and are adamantly OPPOSED to what's going on at our southern border.

You're right that we welcome legal immigrants. But not if they come here to usurp our culture. I welcome their contributions to our culture, especially those that strengthen our faith in the God of Abraham and our moral life, i.e., those that respect our identity as a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles. But when they refuse to truly become American, or worse, attempt to "fundamentally transform America" into something else, then they should just leave.

8 posted on 07/04/2014 7:48:59 AM PDT by scouter
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YES, we WILL make it to 239, because this is our country, and we will win this war of wars for our time, and return to the Constitution, our liberty and freedom. WE are AMERICANS. May God bless us all, and may God bless America.

Happy July 4th, Independence Day, everyone! Make sure you're flying our flag at home or where ever you're gathering today to celebrate. Make sure that your truck, car, motorcycle, motorbike, boat, bicycle is displaying our flag this 4th of July. Wave it high and wave it proud, our beautiful flag. Sing it loud and sing it proud, the song America the Beautiful, My Country Tis of Thee, beautiful songs....

9 posted on 07/04/2014 8:00:22 AM PDT by itssme
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To: Kaslin
Happy Fourth Despite It All

How about just "Happy Fourth"? If you can't be optimistic, stay indoors today.
10 posted on 07/04/2014 8:20:35 AM PDT by arderkrag (Chaste women, sober men, obedient children, and "sin laws" - the four horsemen of the apocalypse.)
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