". .. thinking that some of the most patriotic people I know are Dreamers," an immigration reporter provocatively tweeted last night while watching Fourth of July fireworks.
She was referring to young-adult illegal aliens, many of whom were brought illegally to the country by their parents and who are urging U.S. citizenship for themselves AND also for their parents, the ones who knowingly and deliberately broke the law to live and work here.
The tweet immediately got ME thinking about the patriotism of all of YOU who are fighting the elite establishment's all-out efforts for a giant overall amnesty and a doubling of the importation of immigrant workers. How does your patriotism stack up against the patriotism of illegal aliens in general and of those who support them?
Depends on the definition of patriotism, doesn't it.
Looking out my office window at the national monuments that were illuminated throughout last night's fireworks spectacle, I'm sharing my own thoughts about patriotism and what we are all doing together in our immigration activism. These are not official organizational statements but my personal reflections.
Is "patriotism" mainly the intense desire to live in a country and the belief that this country is far superior as a place to live compared to every other country in the world?
If so, I would say that most illegal aliens seeking an amnesty are indeed patriotic to America. Certainly, they don't want to be made to live anywhere else in the world. To them, the United States is so superior to all other nations that many illegal aliens consider it a violation of their international human rights to be made to leave.
Do an internet search and you will find that kind of definition seems to prevail in quotations about patriotism. You'll also find that those quotations are usually pejorative and suggest that patriotism is selfish and leads to bad behavior by a country in relation to other countries. You'll find a lot of great and small figures through history who say the worst behavior by countries the last two centuries has been undergirded by a patriotism of chauvinistic superiority.
Or is "patriotism" mainly "devotion to the welfare of one's country," the way the dictionary at my desk simply defines it?
That is the concept I embrace. And it is what I believe drives most of you who have opposed the Senate Gang of Eight and their S. 744 bill that passed the Senate last week.
Yes, you desire a legal flow of immigrants that is low enough that it doesn't deteriorate YOUR quality of life. Yes, I'm sure you would rather live here than anywhere. But what causes you week after week for years to make phone calls, send faxes, read websites and alerts in fighting for different immigration policies?
I think it is your devotion to the welfare of the country where you were born or which you have adopted.
I say this on the basis of what I have heard from literally thousands of you since I founded NumbersUSA in 1996. Most of what you have said indicates that what really drives you to act beyond passive citizenship on this issue is your concern for the fellow citizens of your national community -- especially the most vulnerable -- and your deep desire to feel that your grandchildren's grandchildren and your neighbors' grandchildren will not be denied by actions taken today the ability to enjoy the aspects of your country that you hold most dear.
You do not wish for your generation to be the one that bars all future generations of your country from the natural heritage, the freedom of mobility and the quality of life that you treasure.
Your patriotism does not deny the importance of any other peoples to love their own countries and to place a priority on their own countrymen. But your patriotism signals that you will not stand idly by while politicians try to give out 33 million more foreign work permits the next decade -- even though your own wages and occupations may not be threatened -- because you feel an obligation to your countrymen who indeed ARE threatened by a vastly loosened labor market.
I found a lot of the rhetoric of the pro-amnesty Senators last week to be troubling in its boastfulness about America's superiority, as if it is not possible for the 95% of the people in the world who do NOT reside in the United States to live meaningful lives.
Some of the rhetoric was in service of the idea that the U.S. has a humanitarian obligation to allow every person possible in the world to live here. And other of that superiority rhetoric served the concept that our country should vacuum up all the top talent in the world to supposedly increase our wealth, regardless of what that might do to other countries.
A HYMN ABOUT RESPONSIBLE PATRIOTISM
Many of you who have attended church services may be familiar with the 1934 hymn, "This Is My Song," written by Lloyd Stone to the tune of the Finlandia Hymn.
To me, it encapsulates the kind of patriotism that I believe many of us practice in seeking immigration policies that best serve our own country, but also other nations, as well.
This is my song, O God of all the nations, A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is; Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating, With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country's skies are bluer than the ocean, And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover, And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, O God of all the nations, A song of peace for their land and for mine.
This song reminds me of the Statue of Liberty. Many try to hold up the Statue as a symbol of America's superiority and as an invitation to the world to come here to improve their lives.
But the French didn't mean it to symbolize anything like that. Their gift was intended to face outward to suggest that every country would emulate in their own way the spirit of individual freedom and rule of law as practiced here. To be true to that model, our United States government's immigration policies must be committed primarily to the broad interests of the people of the United States rather than the special interests of the corporate elites.
Happy Independence Day weekend, fellow patriots,
ROY BECK (founder & president of NumbersUSA)