Monday, June 16, 2003

Diversity And Tolerance

Why can’t we all just play nice together? It’s a nice concept, but unfortunately there is a bad element no matter where you go.

I think it’s great to maintain the memory, and honor, of your roots. Always teach your children where your family has come from, and how they got to where they are today. We label people based on their race, but this should not be the case. People should not be Native American, African American, Chinese American, etc… They should either be one or the other.

Personally, I welcome people of different backgrounds, nationalities, and cultures to America. Many different cultures have a lot to offer this “melting pot” and perhaps many more folks should be listening to what they have to say. When the choice is made by them to live in America, however, and choose to call this great country their home, then there should be some strings attached.

You are not Whatever-American, but American! We speak English here. Learn it! These two simple things would do a lot to straighten out some of our problems in this country. Just about any race of people, that’s right, even white folks, originally came to America because they where persecuted in their own country. I am not proud of the history of this country, with slavery, Japanese interment camps, stomping all over the Indian populations, etc… This is now my country, and the bickering has to stop.

No, you don’t have the right to be paid for past atrocities that happened to your family. It was unfortunate, but it happened. The easy statement, which has been uttered so often it sounds like a cliché, is “if you don’t like it here in America, leave”! Nobody is forcing you to stay here! Our biggest problem is that we try way too hard, bending over backwards, to coddle everyone and to make sure we don’t hurt anybody’s feelings.

Enough is enough. I like the bumper sticker I saw that said, “Get in, shut up, and hold on”. I would love that as our new country motto. Okay, so that’s maybe a bit too harsh, but you get the point. Come on in to America, we’d love to have you here, and we would love for you to share your culture with us. Teach us about your country, your customs and beliefs, and maybe some of your better customs will integrate within our existing system. Don’t you dare whine and demand that we have to accommodate you for any reason just because you came here from somewhere else.

Time and again I hear folks complain that they have no opportunity in this country. That’s B.S., because you become what you make of yourself. Any kid in this country can join the military, have a place to stay, get an education, and a paycheck. From this excellent jumping off point the sky is the limit! Nothing I have received is because I am white. It’s all because I applied myself while in the Air Force, finally got my Bachelor’s degree (only took me 20 years… heh heh heh), and got a great job when I retired.

I’m reminded of an old Mork and Mindy episode where Mork finds a carton of eggs in the refrigerator. He takes the carton and throws the eggs out of it into the air and yells, “Fly, and be free”! Needless-to-say, the eggs all splat on the kitchen counter, at which time Mork tells them, “How can I help you if you won’t help yourselves”?

Take responsibility for yourself. And if you choose to live a life of poverty and crime, there are consequences for that as well.

I’ll leave you with another great movie line (can you tell I grew up watching T.V and movies?). From the Star Wars movie “The Empire Strikes Back”, there was a scene in which Yoda (Jedi Master) is teaching Luke the ways of The Force. After Yoda explains what Luke must do Luke says, “I’ll try”. Yoda immediately comes back with a great line, “Do, or do not. There is no try…”

Make up your mind, then do it!

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