ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Monday, April 14, 2008

Losing our National Identity

Listening to a speech about European countries losing therir national identity - and Islamic fundamentalism taking over in many of these countries, I got to thinking...

We love being a mosaic, melting pot, multicultural country - but are we at risk for also going too far? Is the reluctance we have to ask people to Americanize losing our core values, our edge, our "Americaness"?

My grandpzrents and their peers came to this country from all over Europe - from Russia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, etc. They proud with them proud national heritages AND the strong desire to beome Americans (without losing their love or pride in their original nationalities. They learned the language. They learned the laws. They learned the culture. They learned the way of dressing. They went to American schools. They took citizenship classes and proudly became citizens of these United States.

What has happeend? What can we do about it?

In Israel, newcomers planning to tlive there are invited into half way houses to leran the language, rules of the road, culture, laws, etc. Once they are able to be citizens and working (or school going) members of the community, they leave the protection of the half way house and go on to create their own lives and professions at Israelis.

We'd like to think we are all independent free thinking people who are quite capable of creating our own culture and rules - indeed some of my friends are anarchists, believing that there is no reason for laws or centralized government at all.

I disagree. I am firmly convincedf that most people need to fit into an externally created structure. That's why religion is so popular around the world. When the structure is not readily available to them they seek it out and become easy prey for cults (we've all seen it happen) and extremist strident views - such as radical islamic fundamentalists.

So, what are our core values? How can we once again re-introduce them into our culture - while at the same time respecting the differences of other people?

What are your ideas?


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