Someone should call our friends to the South. The United States of America is celebrating the wrong holiday. They call July 4th Independence Day. It should be renamed Interdependence Day.
I don’t for a second want to dampen the Red, White & Blue Party happening this week. The birth of a great nation is worthy of a great celebration. The contributions of the USA to commerce, sports, innovation, politics, and war are probably second to none since the Roman Empire. Despite seemingly unrelenting racism towards colour/gender/sexual orientation, random murders at nightclubs/intersections/beaches and rhetorical politics/politicians/political news, the USA is a great ally and neighbour. I know it may not sound that way, but I am not being sarcastic.
However, the notion of Independence is dated. It’s had its time. It’s had its place. It’s had its role.
Today, thousands of new Americans will become U.S. citizens. They will pledge their allegiance and denounce their citizenship of their mother country. That’s part of the contract when you decide to become an American. Unlike Canada, there is no such thing as dual citizenship in the States. You want in, you’re all in. Hey, it’s your country, your rules.
But if you really want to Make America Great Again, our neighbours should spend a few moments thinking about their own neighbours. Think about the people living on your street. Think about the people you work with. Think about the people that teach your children. Think about the vet who cures your dog. No matter what colour, religion, or ethnicity, every American was an immigrant at some point.
One of my best friends from Orillia is one of those people. He was visiting from his home in Atlanta this weekend and I was thrilled to spend Canada Day with his family.
Thirty years ago, he moved to America and attended university, followed by law school, graduated with several degrees, had two children, became an Assistant District Attorney and now is a county prosecutor and has an important community law practice. In addition to the two kids of his own, there is a young teenager he feeds and clothes because of the brokenness of his own home. His two kids both have 4.0-grade point averages. His eldest boy is a university-level soccer player already on a statewide development team.
Over sixty years ago my friend’s dad left his home in India to attend university in the United States, before migrating to Montreal for work. Eventually, he wound up in Orillia and was a colleague of my father’s.
The America being celebrated today is telling the future fathers and sons from far away, and even close-by, countries that they aren’t welcome anymore. I guess that is the current Declaration of Independence? I guess the USA doesn’t need any more lawyers trying to put away the bad guys, or future doctors as his daughter will become, or future student-athletes as his son is. I guess America doesn’t need people like my friend who provides food and shelter for an impoverished youth and adopts rescue dogs, including one that was badly injured thrown from a speeding car.
I would be happy to have my friend and his beautiful children back here in Canada. Our country would benefit from their talents. It would be one more reason that I love this country. But that isn’t to be. The once welcoming the United States of America now has them.
Hopefully, their contribution and that of other immigrants will be recognized as American’s celebrates July Fourth. It is time to show a little gratitude to those who have already helped Make America Great.