20 September 2006

On American Culture

It has recently been said that the wave of immigration from Mexico is destroying our culture.
This cannot be further from the truth.

When a person speaks of American culture, he shows his true ignorance. America has no culture. At least not one to call its own. America was founded on immigrants from all over the world. English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Czech, China, Korea, Laos, Nigeria, South Africa, whereever. After some tension at the initial influx, there cultures were embraced and have become integral to that of America.

There are things that are unique to America, to be sure. Various forms of music and food come to mind. But each of these drew from the cultures that surronded it, like a crystal drawing from the material around it to create a unique color.

It seems that many of those who are upset about this sudden influx of foreigners are Irish-American. In the nineteenth century, the Irish represented the largest number of immigrants coming into the nation. They were asked to leave their culture behind. They refused. Today, Irish culture is one of the most celebrated in America. Everything from the local pub to Saint Patrick's Day to the rise of celtic punk are owed to that refusal.

Many nations face a "problem" with defending their cultures. France has passed various laws to protect what they see as unique about them. Now, they face the issue of the large number of north African Muslims coming into their nation and the resulting xenophobia. Canada faces the issue of the Quebecois trying to protect their culture. It is threatenting to rip the nation in two.

America has always stood out among nations, asking for the weak, the poor, and the huddled masses. We have taken the cultures of many and made them one.

Why stop now?

Rock on.

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