8.8.10

- Tí velji eg at gerast borgari í Amerika!


Tá vit sigldu við Torben Hammer á Michiganvatninum til Chicago, gav hann mær hesa grein, sum hann hevði klipt úr dagsins útgávu av Chicago Tribune. Greinina hevur ein dani, Henrik F. Rasmussen, skrivað í sambandi við at hann bleiv amerikanskur ríkisborgari í summar. Í donskum miðlum fekk hendingin umrøðu, tí Henrik er sonur Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

– Síggja vit burtur frá tí nalvapilkandi, sum miðlarnir ofta gera seg sekan í, so fevnir greinin um júst teir tankar, tú, dani ella ikki, gert tær, tá tú skalt velja rísborgararætt her í landinum, sigur Torben, sum er ættaður av Bornholm, men býr í Chicagoforstaðnum Fox Grove.

Konuni, sum er hiðani, møtti hann á International People's College í Helsingør fyrst í sjeytiárunum. Í 1983 var eg í starvsvenjing júst á tí skúlanum. Torben, sum er sterkstreymsverkfrøðingur, hevur ikki altíð búð í so borgarligum og konservativum umhvørvi, sum her. Á siglitúrinum avdúkar hann, at hann var ein teirra sum búði í Thy leguni, tá henda tók seg upp í Norðurjútlandi. Ein stillur, hugfarsligur maður, sum hevur upplivað nógv.

Henrik F. Rasmussen, sum hevur skrivað greinina niðanfyri, bloggar eisini um evnið á http://www.henrikfrasmussen.com/ Har upplýsir Henrik, at fyrsta arbeiði hansara var at bera út dagbløð, júst sum Rockefeller, fyrimyndin hjá Hallsteini. Júmen, stendur heimurin opin fyri hugaðum fólki. Í hvussu er í USA.

Cause for optimism about America's future

An immigrant's tale:

Chicago Tribune 18. Juli 2010
Henrik F. Rasmussen

I am a new citizen of the United States. In the months preceding my naturalization ceremony, many people asked me, half-seriously, half-jokingly, "Are you sure you want to do this?"

They were alluding, of course, to the dire forecasts of impending American decline. Commentators speak of imperial overstretch, government overspending and a broken political culture. Allusions to the final days of the Roman Empire are commonplace.

My answer was "Absolutely. I am sure." And I am in good company, too.

In 2008, a record 1,046,539 new citizens took the naturalization oath.

Evidently, not everyone buys into the gloom and doom.

Optimism is an imperative for the immigrant. After all, it is never easy to start from scratch in a new country. When I came to the United States as a student almost 10 years ago, I took a big chance. I only knew a handful of Americans. I had to take out significant loans to pay for tuition, and there was no clear or guaranteed career path ahead of me. Yet I vividly remember how free and confident I felt. I was defining myself in a new country full of opportunities.a

The immigrant's sense of rebirth and adventure has always been at the heart of the American experience. America is a country of people on the move and on a mission. Many native-born Americans are "immigrants" in a sense, having moved from another part of the country to start a new life.

America was deliberately designed to be vast, dynamic and mobile.

James Madison, in Federalist No. 10, argued that a large republic is better than a small one because the larger number of citizens results in so many competing interests that no small-minded faction can ever gain a permanent upper hand. Abraham Lincoln resented parochial stasis and fought to preserve a vibrant Union with opportunities for the kind of self-driven upward mobility that he had experienced.

It may be fashionable to speak of decline these days, but it will take a lot more than our current problems to wreck a republic as strongly rooted in the ideas of Lincoln and Madison as the United States remains today.

American dynamism strengthens the fabric of society rather than weakening it. Breathing room for the individual fosters good citizenship and strong communities. Alexis de Tocqueville noted the difference between the vibrant associations in the young American republic and the near absence of public spiritedness created by the repressive old regime in France.

Even today, the social democracies of Europe struggle to integrate young and restless immigrants while communities all over America welcome newcomers. In much of the world, ethnic and religious differences remain a recipe for violence, yet citizens of all races and religions live together in peace in modern day America. The difference is individual opportunity.

One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in this country was how often Americans use the word "leadership." In America, anyone can aspire to be a leader. American society actively encourages and celebrates leadership at every level in business, public service and voluntary associations.

The United States is unique in this cultivation of individual leadership. Raw leadership material exists in every nation, but most other countries tend to suppress aspiring leaders instead of developing them. Totalitarian regimes are the most obvious examples, but even many democracies are marred by cultural traits that discourage leadership. Take, for instance, the "tall poppy syndrome" in many English-speaking countries or the "Jante Law" in Scandinavia — social rules telling you to stay in your place and not stick your head up too far.

No wonder America continues to attract ambitious people from all over the world. Millions of people — both native-born and new arrivals — have their hopes and dreams invested in America. We will not let this country decline.

An immigrant from Denmark, Henrik F. Rasmussen became a U.S. citizen on April 9. He lives in Springfield and is an international public affairs consultant.