NONIE DARWISH: IMMIGRANTS DILEMMA IN AMERICA
If America were to open its borders without restrictions, more than half the world population would be here. It is the American capitalist system that is still a dream come true to many who are more than happy to leave their stagnant, dysfunctional economies, burdened with class envy and re-distribution of “pennies” through government bureaucrats and red tape. Many immigrants were more than happy to trade their substandard government-run health insurance for life in America where hard work is rewarded with the best standard of living on the face of the earth.
As a young woman, I accomplished my dream of moving to America in November of 1978. Even though I had a good job as a journalist, a well-to-do family and connections to some movers and shakers in the Egyptian government, I could never have been financially independent, buy a car or rent an apartment on my own without family help. America was my outlet to freedom, economic self-reliance and escape from being surrounded by misery, injustice and poverty. I knew that if I worked hard in America I would achieve success, and I did.
It is hard to explain to Americans born and raised in this country how happy it felt to enjoy the simple things that Americans take for granted. The satisfaction I had after I looked at my check after a hard day’s work, how I enjoyed the ease of getting and decorating my beautiful apartment, buying a car on my own and dreaming of a bright future I knew I could achieve. How easy it is in America to do business, drive around, buy and sell whatever one needs without having to bribe, beg or threaten a lazy government worker who could care less. Americans rarely hear about life on the outside and the daily difficulties people around the world have to endure for things Americans take for granted.
I was happy to assimilate into American culture while preserving the fun and good stuff I brought with me from my culture of origin, and my American friends loved it. I loved a smile from a perfect stranger on the street and a “do you need any help?” in a store. Many Americans have no idea that such daily little acts of pleasant interaction is a uniquely American tradition rarely seen around the world. To the new immigrant, shopping is a pleasure and affordable. I never envied “the rich” in America and looked forward to achieving my own American dream, and I, and many other immigrants, have done just that.
Americans are left uninformed by their media of how the rest of the world lives. Perhaps a good show to watch is “House Hunters International” where Americans can see for themselves that homes and apartments around the world are practically unaffordable to the general public and often unlivable by American standards.
Left on their own, immigrants are grateful to work hard and enjoy the American system, but soon after we are here, we are told by the popular culture that we are victims, must act like ones, and we must not accept what America can offer. America wanted more from us when it came time to vote. We are told that the system is rigged, not fair and that “whites” who have welcomed us in the millions for centuries, are racists and bigoted. Many immigrants believed the anti-American propaganda for the sake of approval and benefits. Immigrants are now told to hold on to their old culture, religion, traditional clothes, customs, language, and even some of the archaic laws, which many have escaped from in the first place. The conventional wisdom now tells us that America is no better than the oppressive systems we originally came from.
In America today, every national origin and race is encouraged to find a minority group to belong to. When I first moved to America, no Muslim women wore the Islamic garb, and you could hardly tell on the streets of America who was Muslim and who was not. Now many Muslims find power in sticking together, and go back to the Islamic garb and cry victimization. When I privately once asked a Muslim professor why she started wearing the head cover in America, her answer was a whisper: “The ethnic look is powerful in America.”
Many years ago, I knew a wonderful hard-working Hispanic family that found success in America after years of the mother working as a cleaning lady and the father a construction worker. Their kids all graduated college and never had to pay a dime for their education and wonderful government jobs. The children of that family today are speaking of discrimination, how California was part of Mexico, and how it is only fair to redistribute wealth. That was the lesson they learned in college.
Immigrants in America today are faced with a dilemma; they must deny their appreciation of the capitalist system that brought them here in the first place. Their children are taught to reject their parents’ experience of hard work to get ahead and regard their parents as victims of discrimination and abuse. They are rewarded for complaining and rejecting assimilation, free enterprise, self-reliance, and appreciation of American values that made this country the envy of the world. They are told to look at the half-empty glass, and are encouraged to throw the baby out with the bath water. They are told to hate white people and those who don’t are shamed as traitors to their race.
It took my three children one visit to the Middle East to understand what America is all about. After the trip, they told me, “Thank you mom for giving birth to us in America.” I wish that every American teenager would have a chance to travel and live in a third world country. I wish that Hollywood, the media, academia and all those who have power to influence our kids, would try to get a job outside of the United States that will provide them with an apartment and a car. Some countries might provide government health insurance, but health insurance is just a piece of paper and does not mean good health care. Many countries that provide some health care have high unemployment, terrible shortages of food and apartments, and many other things Americans take for granted. In America today, we are moving in the same direction: high unemployment, less home ownership and government-controlled health care.
America has always been the symbol of hope and change to the world, but instead of making the world more like us, we are moving in the direction of the rest of the world. Change is good when it is appropriate and necessary, but change just for the sake of change is destructive. Hopeless people could never have built America in two hundred years, and it is a shame for anyone to claim that America needs hope and change — an expression more suited for a leader of Haiti or Egypt — rather than a leader of America.
Even though the majority of immigrants in America have been seduced by “free stuff” and into preserving their ethnic identity, realistic and honorable immigrants need to resist the seduction of the leftist agenda and remind America of why we immigrants moved here in the first place.
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