I’m calling my opening statement today “The A Word.” And it’s not the A-word that you might be thinking of either. Nope. Apparently, the newest offensive word is – America. That’s right – the country we live in – America - is a bad word.
In Lexington Massachusetts – a town where the FIRST shot of the American Revolutionary War was fired – the shot heard ‘round the world… at Lexington High School – the theme of an upcoming dance, was just changed from American Pride – to National pride. School officials said that they – and I quote – “wanted the dance to be more inclusive so students could represent their different nationalities.”
Are we becoming so inclusive that we're excluding our own national history? Why is America offensive? Is THIS what we want to teach our kids to think about America? Especially the next generation? And what about immigrants who are some of the most patriotic, America loving people out there? They don't seem to be offended by America. In fact it seems that most of them will move mountains just to become a citizen here. Why don’t those of us who are already here, feel the same way?
This also makes me think back to some other stories we’ve talked about here on Judge Cristina Live. There was the New Mexico high school that chose communism as the theme for their dance. And the students seemed absolutely confused as to why that caused controversy. And then there was the story of the UC Irvine students who voted to ban the American flag on campus – because they called it as symbol of hate, violence, and intolerance.
Okay – I understand that our country is not perfect. Our history is not spotless. There is racism, and violence, and war, and ignorance. But I would challenge you to show me a country that IS perfect. Show me a nation WITH a spotless record! I doubt you’ll find one, and you know why? Because countries are nothing but a collection of people. These flawed works in progress called human beings. Is the collection of people called America SO bad – and SO flawed – and SO destructive – that we need to be embarrassed by our own country? We need to hide our flag in shame, pretend our history never happened, and turn a blind eye to all the GREAT things about America? So many men and women have died – and are continuing to die – for our country. Are we saying to them: Thanks but no thanks; you didn’t have to do that. This country isn’t worth dying for.
I hope not because personally, I see a lot more good than bad in our country and in the American people. Sorry if I’m sounding like a patriotic Pollyanna, but I think of how my parents gave up everything to become citizens and succeed in this country. I think of the love of America that they instilled in my brother and sister and I at a young age. They taught us how to hold onto our culture identity as children of Colombian parents and yes – I am a proud Latina. But I am also a proud American. Does it really have to be one or the other? Because in these news stories that I’m talking about, that seems to be the case. It seems to be an attitude of – well if we’re going to be inclusive toward immigrants and people of other cultures, we need to exclude America. We need to turn our back on the flag, and our history and everything that America stands for. I disagree.
I applaud the students at Lexington High School who have spoken up about this. The ones quoted in this article are speaking out on behalf of common sense. One student said he “felt the decision was ridiculous and based on hypersensitivity to being politically correct.” Another said “People consider America to be a melting pot so the fact that it was even considered offensive is what people are a little surprised about.”
What a smart observation. Yes – what happened to the melting pot? Have we lost our way as a nation that stands solid in its history and values? Do we feel like in order to be a good hostess to other cultures, we need to completely abandon our nationality as America?
You tell me – is “America” – the new “A” word? Should we be SO embarrassed by the missteps of our country that we should ignore our own nation’s history?