First of all, let me start by saying that, if you are an American citizen and you love your country, then I would be surprised if you’re not at least slightly offended by some of the not-so-subtle instances of “America-bashing” in the following article:
“There is No U.S.”? What kind of title is that? This University, this paper, this little hippie-town of Ithaca: it’s all the U.S. Or, as I said on my Facebook page: “Excuse me, but this is AMERICA.” In all seriousness though, I have some major issues with this article.
First of all, I’m surprised how ignorant the author must assume your average educated American to be. He is writing to an audience of college students, and I’m pretty sure most educated Americans aren’t under the impression that our country is the number one, high-and-mighty country that is so far above all others. Why would anyone assume that educated Americans nowadays are still under this impression? Yes, of course there are countries that are ahead of us in technology, perhaps some or all areas business, etc., etc. I’m no expert on that. I’m a Biology major. Cut me some slack. But hey, we watch the news, we read the papers. We know our country isn’t the sole superpower in a world of underlings. To assume that this is what we’re thinking is really not fair.
Now, we also have this running theme in the article which is about getting people to accept that some of the best jobs are going overseas, and that’s where some Americans should be seeing their future. In short: the opportunities are over in China! Forget about nationality, it’s becoming “obsolete”, etc. Okay, but what if I’m proud of my nationality? Is that not allowed for Americans? I certainly know plenty of international students (China, Singapore, Poland, and more) who are proud of their nationality, and I don’t think they’d be so quick to relinquish it. In fact, I’m glad they’re proud! They have every right to be, just like Americans do. And then we have, “The figure that we should be focused on now isn’t whether we have students from all 50 states but if we have students from all 194 nations. ” This perturbed me to no end. I mean, OK, yes: what a beautiful sentiment. I understand that. Now that I’m over that, reality: we, as Americans, should certainly be focusing, first and foremost, on representing our own country in our schools, and then we’ll see about the other 194 countries. Given that sentiment, we should still focus on giving those international students an opportunity to study here, by all means. They are coming to our country to seek an education above all other countries in the world, including their own, after all. And hopefully they’re grateful for what our country has to offer them once they arrive here. I mean, that’s what our country is all about, that’s how we developed into such a diverse nation over time. We need international students to offer novel perspectives. To share culture. To make friends with an average American like me! :) But how far is too far? If the trend of “country-quota-filling” continues to rise, or rise rapidly as the author seems to hope, then it will be even more difficult for your average (yet equally qualified) American kid to get a spot in that entering college class. It’s getting hard enough nowadays already! And then that kid that gets rejected might not even have the opportunity to go work that high status job in China, now, will he? Whether he wanted to or not!
A few more things need to be mentioned, here. Probably one of the most glaring instances, in my eyes, of America-bashing: “Shouldn’t we be worried? After all, it is us against them. West versus East. Democracy against Communism. They are two nations stuck in an inescapable zero-sum game. Therefore, must not we, proud Americans, do everything we can to protect America?…Not necessarily.” No. Just no. So much sarcasm! So biting! No one said it was that dramatic, or that drastic. But, seriously? YES, it is actually democracy against communism, and YES, Americans should do everything they can to protect their country. It’s not like we need protection from international relations, or the sharing of culture, or some international students, or being open to looking for opportunities overseas. That’s not what I’m saying at all. All that is just fine, and wonderful in fact. What I am saying is that we need to protect ourselves from accepting an article like this as fact…to protect ourselves from letting an article like this lead us on some false guilt trip caused by a mostly empty argument based on assumptions and hardly any conclusive fact (the only thing I’ll grant is the bit about the economy…but really…where is all the rest of this information coming from? Seemingly nothing more than impassioned, biased journalism). We need to stand up for ourselves and say, “No. Educated Americans know better than this. We are not ignorant, and we are not close-minded, but we will not stand for the belittling of our nation.”
I mean, come on…the last line? I conclude my little commentary with the author’s conclusion: “For us Americans — whatever that means anymore — it is time to think outside of the red, white and blue box.” The insult…more oozing, seething sarcasm. And notice the use of the word “us”. This article and its whopper of an ending doesn’t exactly seem to be demonstrating patriotism. If thinking outside my red, white, and blue box means that I have to assume that I’m ignorant, look a job in China, encourage my school to accept less Americans in order to fill a 194-country quota, and forget about my country’s constitution and decide to be comfortable with the ideals of Communism? Well, then you can count me out. If thinking outside my red white and blue box means nothing more than being open to international relations, opportunities abroad to be sought out if desired, and the continued encouragement of international students to go to school here in America? Then sure, count me in.
(But in the end, that last sentence is just plain offensive, any way you slice it…)