Taking a step back…

I just got an email from someone who read my post about my experience with the Department of Immigration.  He said:

I’m surprised that’s how immigration people talk to foreigners. Worse still, in the presence of their spouses (I can’t imagine your Mrs. lookin’ like some terrorist in any remote sense). No shame I guess. & here I was wonderin’ a year ago whether it was a bright idea to go work & stay in your country (minus scarcity of jobs at present & economic uncertainty).

Now, that’s the real shame about this sort of thing.  The fact that incidents like this, by official representatives of the U.S., can be (even if only second or third hand) the dominate view of America and Americans really makes me mad.

So, before I go further, allow me to reassure any of you, my dear readers, who may come from terra ignota about America.

Despite news reports (including our own), our government policies and military adventures, Americans are really a great people.  We may have a plastic culture, not be particularly aware of the world outside our borders (find yourself on the map!) but Americans are open, friendly, and kind.  The battles you see on TV really don’t capture how most Americans (even the most partisan) live their lives or interact with others.  I tend towards the left politically and am dithering between atheism and Buddhism yet I have very close friends who are deeply committed evangelicals and hard-core right wingers.  The vitriol you can see and hear in the media doesn’t reflect our daily lives.

I, and others, may pick apart our country and fellow citizens on blogs and such but really we’re only focusing on the fringes.

Now, the other thing that came to mind when I was thinking about this post was my reaction to people who ask me why I’m in the Army.  Apart from the fact that I’ve always wanted to be a soldier, in the past few years I’ve increasingly come to believe that it’s important for our military to look like our society with all sorts of different people who believe all sorts of different things.

That same thing goes for our society in general.  We can, either by accident or intentionally, fall victim to partisan propaganda and self-segregate to interact only with people who think and act like ourselves.  We’re much better off being exposed to people who are different form ourselves.

So, I’d recommend to everyone to come to the States!  If not for you then for us.

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