I recently read one of those chain emails telling me how I should be ashamed of myself if I didn’t forward it on. In defense of the person who sent it to me, he didn’t send it because of any sense shame he would have if he didn’t forward it, but as part of a discussion we were having about the topic of the chain email, illegal immigration.He was sharing the email to show some of the ideas in the email as similar to his own, with the qualification that his own views are less harsh and confrontational.
I don’t want to criticize my friend. He is a great lover of freedom and one of the kindest people I know. I do, however, want to discuss something that was brought to my attention with the email he sent.
Despite, and actually probably because of receiving the basics of my formal educated in the public education system, my wife and I choose to home-school our children. If not the most logical and well thought out argument, by far the most frequent argument against home-schooling is the question, “What about their social skills?”
Now I’m not going to argue about how ridiculous that question is in this post or on this blog, but one social phenomenon that I experienced and somewhat actively participated in while I was in High School, that my children will probably never have the opportunity to experience, is the phenomenon of school pride.
This phenomenon has never been more prevalent than when I was at a High School sporting event, where anyone representing another school was considered “the enemy.” I have never been so prone to poor sportsmanship and exhibited more acts for which I am ashamed than when I was motivated by school pride. However, I have also never aspired to be a greater me and do more good for the world than when I was motivated by school pride either.
At the urging of my wife, I recently watched the first few minutes of first episode of HBO’s show “The Newsroom.” There was enough profanity and vulgar language in the first few minutes that I knew I didn’t want to watch even the rest of the episode, let alone anymore of the series. However, in the first several minutes I also heard something that caused me to think. Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, when asked, “Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?” his first answer is “the New York Jets.” After the host/mediator pressed him to give a more real answer it eventually led to a monologue about how America is not the greatest country in the world, but it used to be. He argues that, at present, America leads the world in only three categories:
- Number of incarcerated citizens per capita
- Number of adults who believe angels are real
- Defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies
He then goes on about how America used to do things for moral reasons and that we used to accomplish great things. We cultivated some of the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy. We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we weren’t afraid to stand up for what we believed.
It is the mentality implied by the question of the college student – that America is the greatest country in the world – and how that mentality enters into the debate about immigration, that I wish to discuss.