Guest contributors run the gamut, but they all pretty much rock.
Regular Contributor Out Yonder
In an opening scene of a recent TV space show, a large square monstrosity of a ship is seen approaching the Enterprise. Like a perfectly square lump of compacted trash, it moves silently through space. All along the surface are parts and pieces, tubes and ducts, bolted together with no discernable pattern or order. It is huge, complicated, all grey or colorless, and resembles a gigantic industrial heat pump with the cover off.
Those who live on this ship are part organic, part machine, and all connected to each other via advanced communication technology. They know what the others are thinking, and behave like ants. They even have a queen. They spend their lives going along through the universe sucking up any civilizations they come in contact with, and assimilating them into the collective, which is continuously growing like a hive.
Everything inside the ship is for function only...dimly lit, no color. The Borg move aimlessly from place to place in the ship, performing their functions and duties completely devoid of humor. They don’t socialize or interact with each other unless the need arises in the interests of the collective. Utterly alone on a personal level, they are nevertheless continuously in tune with each other and recognize the importance of assimilation to their collective existence and survival.
In a way, America is like the Borg. Seemingly various parts all pressed and fused together to make a reasonably ordered whole. The difference is that inside our big ugly ship is the cacophony of lights, sounds, smells, and barely contained chaos of a varied cultural identity. A Spanish dance party here, an Irish street festival there, a county fair full of livestock,vegetables and blue ribbons over there, all are America, and all fly the American flag at their events. Some pray first, some play the National Anthem, some do both, but they all honor the country they belong to, and are more loyal than the Borg because they are free.
All this requires assimilation to work.
Almost every culture in the world is represented in America, and has assimilated in its own way. Each has made a life here to share with anyone who wants to see it. It is similar yet different from the one they came from. It is Americanized, and was done without sacrificing cultural identity or pride. Americans are able to both treasure their birth heritage and take pride in their American one. Both coexist in harmony.
This is what America haters miss. They can’t accept assimilation as a condition for being American, and simply think American is something written on a piece of paper. They miss the blessing of E Pluribus Unum.
To assimilate in America also means to study the history of the country. It means taking the time to learn and truly appreciate how America came to be, reliving the pain and suffering of a growing country. Cry with us, laugh with us, take pride with us, and feel shame with us. Assimilate and appreciate. To invest the small amount of time to even glimpse one part of our history is a treasure that lasts a lifetime, and we’re a huge country full of history.
That’s what assimilation does. It makes you a part of the whole.
Of course, there are those who disagree, but they can’t argue that a house divided against itself cannot stand. We as a country aren’t perfect, and never will be. But we share our burdens, and honor our fathers for this gift they died for. To be an American requires assimilation to the reason and purpose of America. To be American is to learn and understand that you are not the most important one here; we all are. To be otherwise is to be adrift among a crowd, disconnected from any roots.
Anyone living in America has the ability to take advantage of every right Americans allow them, but real Americans go a step further. They prefer harmony over discord, and try to keep the peace for the sake of good will, and won’t abuse a law just because they can.
They have assimilated.
They don’t have to be told, they don’t need advanced Borg communication, they just step up and do what’s right in whatever situation presents itself. True Americans clean up after themselves, look after their neighbors, even if just saying hello in the hallway, and step up in the interest of the community they live in. Civic duty means something to Americans who have assimilated.
Assimilated Americans have respect for the flag, for the vote, for the Law, and for the gift of freedom they’ve been given. They (mostly) hold their temper, and can allow insults to pass, but feel strongly in their hearts that America will be defended if needed, even if they are the only ones doing it. They are from all political backgrounds, march in any protest they believe in, and may go home to either a totally integrated or totally segregated neighborhood. It doesn’t matter. They are just as American anyone else who loves their country. If a stranger comes to their neighborhood, they are kind and helpful while watchful and protective of what they love.
They have assimilated.
They are the ones who help, and despite their aggravation for another person they think is wrong, they take the lesson from their parents and are civil first, doing good. They may mutter under their breath the whole time, but they do good anyway, helping where they can for the community’s sake. This is what makes the American experiment work, and good people know it. Assimilating means that whatever it takes, one learns to respect and love the place, cherish the differences of their fellow American brothers and sisters, and find their place to make it better for others, and not soak it dry.
As our ship drifts endlessly along, filled with the raging and conflict that comes with living in these times, I am confident that those of us who have assimilated will always subdue those who won’t, who think they can bring our country to ruin. From terrorists and foreign powers, to haters of all stripes and intelligence levels, America will prosper despite its woes, and continue to add to our cultural identity with each new generation. Our differences make us interesting. Our common love of our country makes us strong.
Resistance is futile.
Inside our ship