I'm part Mexican. I grew up in Mexico from 1967-1969. I still speak the language. I loved the people there, the country, and the whole experience. It was great.
Most of the Mexicans who have come to American are hard-working, ambitious people. Like my ancestors they have come to this country to better themselves and to give better opportunities to their families. They work very hard to succeed. True, many Mexicans take menial jobs and work like slaves, but if their children take advantage of the educational opportunities that are here in America, they will be the next doctors, lawyers, merchants, and chiefs. Those who do not will spend their lives working in fast-food restaurants, cutting lawns, cleaning motels, and houses-just going from menial job to menial job.
I would have no problem marching with Mexican nationals in the recent protest against harsh, new law penalizing illegal immigrants. They contribute to our economy. However, I would march only if we carry the American flag. It would be ridiculous to carry a Mexican flag as it would be for me to carry a Danish flag. Those who come to this country, plan to stay for an extended time, and have their posterity stay here forever need to become true Americans. And...they need to learn English and then to speak English.
Like all descendants of immigrants, I have another heritage. I am Danish-American. Ever heard those people mentioned beside Mexican-American, Japanese-American, or African-American? We are all just plain Americans.
My father-that's one generation ago-grew up in a home where Danish was the primary language. I grew up in the same house, and I know only one word of Danish: Copenhagen. That's not some filth you put in your lip; it's the capital of Denmark. I really am of Danish ancestry with a bit of Scotch Irish blood, but I am first and always an American. My paternal grandmother and my great-grandfather Nelson were both born in Denmark. I do not speak Danish. I do not wave a Danish flag. I don't own one or even know what one looks like. I am an American.
All people who expect the freedoms, advantages, and prosperity of our American way of life need to become whole heartedly American, need to learn and speak English, and need to participate completely in the American way of life. If immigrants become taxpaying, voting members of society, then they are truly American-like me. I've stopped being a Danish-American. Mexicans need to stop being Mexican or Hispanic-Americans. Pledge allegiance to the flag and assimilate. It's a good thing.
This article was written for and first published in the Spartan Shield, Dec. 14.