Saturday, November 29, 2008

America as seen by a new citizen

This  morning I shared a breakfast table in a crowded restaurant with a gentleman from Columbia. He came from humble beginnings, had wanted to live in America since boyhood, worked hard to educate himself, and had just passed his citizenship test. It turned into a two-hour conversation. America is not living up to his boyhood hopes. He realizes that he was naive, but is still alarmed by the trends he sees in his adopted country. 

He's appalled at how wasteful we are.

He is disillusioned by how uneducated and uninformed most Americans are, and even more so by how content they are to remain that way. "They barely graduate from high school, then they just watch TV and make babies until they get cancer. They don't read books, they are unaware of history, and they believe myths."

He has reached the reluctant conclusion that America's political system is every bit as complicated and corrupt as Columbia's.

He's a demographer, and said that the demographic driving America both politically and philosophically used to be older white men. Now it's young white women.

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