Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sometimes it seems like “the melting pot” is no longer a valid description of America. Newcomers to this country hold onto their history a little too tightly. The nation works so hard to foster diversity and delineate people by so many different cultural and racial identities that we build walls instead of blending into a more uniform citizenry.

At the same time, the picture that we project to the world, and which is so gladly inhaled around the globe, is a distorted view through the lenses of television shows, film productions and musical concerts.

While this is wonderful from the standpoint that it has helped make English the international language, and provides lots of revenue to our nation, arriving refugees think that is what America is really like. It can require a real readjustment if their only understanding of the United States comes from dealing with the State Department and watching the slop put out by Hollywood.

The real America is a big space in between these two places, and most immigrants wind up somewhere in that space.

The people who adapt most quickly are the kids. They go to school and get absorbed into the culture. Often, they in turn then have to bring their elders along. As long as immigrants allow their children the freedom to be American kids, I think our immigration issues will sort themselves out.

So far, in my observations of what is happening in New Hampshire, I think we are doing okay. The poem “The Refugee” (Copyright Glenn K. Currie, 2016) is about a brief observation I had a few weeks ago, and about an intersection of cultures that is, so far, avoiding any major crashes.

Glenn K. Currie

The Refugee

He scorched the intersection
In a blaze of color.
Red and purple and yellow
On black.
He ignored the stoplight,
Went the wrong way
Up the “one way” street
And raced away smiling.

He was one of them:
The new arrivals.
Bhutan or Senegal or someplace.
A long way to come
On a bicycle.
Already oblivious to rules,
Hat on backwards,
He was learning quickly.

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