Cultural differences can be a strength, not a liability

I have seen several letters to this paper written by a gentleman who includes this line “A nation that doesn’t have borders, a common language and a common culture disintegrates.” The writer includes a list of former empires or manufactured nation states to prove his case. The United States was not manufactured like those nation states and the development of our nation has proven that cultural differences can be a strength not a liability. The United States have never had a single cultural identity or a single language, the original thirteen colonies were settled by Dutch, French, Spanish and English colonists on land originally occupied by numerous Native American Tribes. These varied origins contributed to a cultural landscape that differed as one traveled about, and who?s rich legacy can still be seen across New York State and across America. Instead of a single common cultural identity, or language America was founded on a shared set of Cultural Values as enshrined in our founding document, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This is what binds us together as a nation, that we believe in these unalienable rights.

Those seeking to come to the United States in 2019 may not share our language or our cultural identity but they come here because they share our cultural values. They are seeking Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. They seek to provide for their families the same things that we would, a safe place to learn and grow, where they can live their best life while improving themselves and contributing to the common cause. Those fleeing violence and unrest in other nations seek the United States as a destination precisely because we are a place that shared values mean more than a single shared culture. I have lived in big cities and small and can say in my opinion those cities that embrace many cultural backgrounds are more vibrant, more interesting and thrive more than those that do not.

As Americans it is time that we stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves and help those who seek our help by welcoming them and showing that our values are not just words but a call to those who are American and those who seek to become American.



By Patricia Older

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