I am a naturalized American citizen. I have been a citizen of the United States since 1987.
The USA In My Childhood
In Israel, where I was born, the United States was the ace card to a better life. Till the 80s’ Israel was an economic basket case and people sought a way to leave, mainly emigrate to the USA.
My mother had a wealthy relative in the United States. My family being rather poor they often send us CARE* packages, and when they came to visit us, in the Holy Land, they left a royal impression on me. For me the United States was a large royal palace and my desire to visit, even live there, settled deep in my heart from an early age.
I did not know much about the USA apart from the fact that wealth is an easy goal to achieve.
Meeting the United States
I first visited the USA in the late 70s’. At that time I was living in South Africa and just got over an unsuccessful marriage. I remember landing in New York. As I got on the bus that was bussing the passengers from the airplane to the terminal, the bus driver looked at me and said ‘HI’. For a second I thought he knew me and I took a second look at the person who greeted me so friendly only later to learn that such ‘hi’ is everywhere, from anyone to anyone, a custom greeting of all Americans.
I loved all that I saw. I did not, however, like the drunk homeless person who was lying on the floor just outside my room of the hotel-motel where I stayed one night and on whom I nearly stepped on. I never saw a homeless before, not even in poor Israel. In such a rich country as the USA, I could not understand the homeless issue.
Moving to the USA
Upon my return to Johannesburg, South Africa, a decision was made. California is going to be my next home and procedure to emigrate began.
In the early 80s’ California became my home-state where I settled and have lived ever since my arrival to the USA to stay
In those days California was American. It was a slow pace state, people polite, light traffic and courteous drivers; people spoke English only, and the sunshine state made me feel at home instantly.
I have been living in California ever since. Thought I traveled the inland a great deal, for me California became home the day I landed there.
As a naturalized American citizen I learned about the country that was born out of a brilliant idea with which its Framers gifted its people.
To me, the United States was a gift to any person who loved freedom and liberty. The unleashed engine of capitalism combined with the energy of liberty, is what made the United States exceptional.
I became a staunch patriot, an adherent to the Constitution.
The Sea of Change
But the ‘State of California’ did not remain as it first met me. A sea of change has taken place these past four decades.
All of a sudden English has become a second language, starting at school. What do they teach there? Portuguese? Oh’, sorry, Spanish, as the first language. Why? To create a divisive society?
In Miami, Florida, English is spoken by tourists like me. Spanish is Miami’s language. You want to move there, learn Spanish fast. In California, they are following Florida’s footsteps. You do not have to become an American you can bring your country to America as if you never left.
I was under the impression that America is all about E-Pluribus Unum, meaning “Out of Many, One.” Whoever arrives to live in America integrates and becomes an American, one nation under God. But no more. Many nations living on the land as if it was some real estate and they do not fit in.
Where is the assimilation gone? Does no one want to be an American?
With that, the politeness has gone, the customer service standard America invented declined. Dirt everywhere, homeless is a mainstream scene and the government, for the people, by the people is for itself and itself only. Forget the people!
Everything seems to fall apart. The governance system has become corrupt; the justice is unjust. People who politically disagree with each other cannot talk to each other; no longer can be family and friends.
Everyone fights for human rights; I thought human rights are inalienable rights were gifted to the American Nation by its Founding Father. Or am I wrong?
I sense that America is losing itself. I hear this same fearful claim from so many who know much better than me. They say we are going through a civil war without the bloodshed.
I want the America I knew back.
President Trump kind of reminds me of old America. Elegant, patriotic, cordial and says it as it is. Where has it all gone?
*The CARE Package was the original unit of aid distributed by the humanitarian organization CARE. Although “CARE Package” is a registered trademark, the term has since been widely adopted as a generic term for a parcel of food or supplies sent for relief or comfort purposes.