Monday, August 8, 2011

成为一个美国人/我们都是美国人 To Become an American/WE ARE ALL AMERICANS

America the Beautiful 美丽伟大的国度


To Become an American

"Free Beings" vs. "Chinese" Series

Kai Chen 陈凯 (Written 6/3/2006 初版 Reprint 8/8/2011 再版)

价值铭言:Words of Value:

"The making of an American begins at that point where he himself rejects all other ties, and any other history, and himself adopts the vesture of his adopted land." -- James Baldwin

成为一个美国人意味着一个新的起点。 在这个新的起点上一个人应消除对过去的眷恋,消除任何其他的历史感,并加入他所认同的这个社会的价值。 --- 杰姆斯. 巴尔迪文

"Here in America we are descended in spirit from revolutionists and rebels -- men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine." -- Dwight Eisenhower

在美国我们是被革命者与反叛者的精神所洗礼过的 -- 他们就是那些勇于向已被大多数人所接受的理念挑战的人们。 --- 艾森豪威尔


By Kai Chen 陈凯 (Reprint 8/8/2011)

My mother, 86, my brothers and their families all have the American citizenship. But every time we get together, I feel that they have not truly become Americans. Especially my mother, she always uses "foreigners" and "Chinese" to describe other people of different race and the descendents of her own race. I always reminds her:

"When you mention "Foreigners" or "Americans", it is as if you yourself is not an American."

Whenever other people ask me where I come from, though I know what they truly mean, I always answer them, half-jokingly: "I am from Los Angeles." When they get annoyed and ask me of what nationality I am, I answer them: "I am an American." When they further pursue the roots of my origin, I tell them: "I am Chinese by birth, American by choice." This is indeed the truth. And I don't know how to tell a lie. Now after I thought about this issue deeper, I have realized actually "I was born an American, for I was born to be free. Only I was born in the wrong place".

I am against hyphenated identity such as Chinese-American, Mexican-American, African-American, etc...

Being American means something substantial, something special, something exceptional: Being American means being a free being; being American means being individual with infinite choices, possibilities and responsibilities; being American means being in a unique culture in the entire history of mankind to reject all despotism and dehumanization from any and all old cultures and societies; being American means being an universal human being who never discriminates against anyone on the basis of his or her race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion; being American means being fair-minded and tolerant of differences; being American means being courageous against evil around the world; being American means being honest to God and to self; being American means constantly learning, improving, progressing toward a better future; being American means being eternally optimistic....

Indeed, being American means so much more than being any member in any/all previous cultures and societies. Being American means being Approaching to the ideal state of what God intends us to be.

I want all of you guys take a moment to reflect on this point, to think what it means to be an American. And indeed, every freedom-loving person in the world, no matter where he or she is, is already yearning to be an American, if not already is in essence.

America is not just a nation with borders; America is not just a government with all the institutions with formal trappings; America is not just a society where crowds of people gather to live; America is not just a culture left by any common ancestry; America is not just a congregation bonded by a common language; America is not an involuntary adherence of tradition like all other countries in the world....

America is an ideal with a special purpose and yearning from all mankind. America is the last best hope for humans to progress toward a better tomorrow. America is the last bastion against slavery, tyranny and despotism. No matter where you are in the world, you are an American if you yearn for freedom and self-actualization and fulfillment, if/when you believe good will defeat evil, and freedom and justice will prevail in the end...

I love America for I love life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. I love America for I love everything America stands for. The world can only become a better place if everyone in it would proudly declare:

"We are all Americans!"



A Poem by Kai Chen
陈凯 诗一首

We are from Africa;
we are from Europe;
we are from Latin America;
we are from Pacific, Australia;
we are from Asia.

Yes, indeed, we are from everywhere;
and we are human beings.
Yes, indeed, we are all individuals;
we are all Americans.

We are feeble; we are strong;
we are poor; we are rich;
we are young; we are old;
we are men; we are women;
we have different beliefs;
we have different religions.

Yes, indeed, we all love life;
and we are all unique human beings.
Yes, indeed, we are all individuals;
we are all Americans.

We had been all oppressed
in our so-called motherlands;
we had all been made unequal
by our ancestral rules and laws;
we had felt less of a human
with demeaning cultures by our rulers;
we had not realized our potentials
as unique, creative beings.
In the land of our ancestors,
we felt not appreciated as individuals
with unique talents and yearnings.
In the land of our birth,
we couldn't see our own meaning as individuals
with dignity and integrity.
In our ancetral lands that command us to love them
out of obligation and duty,
we felt only contempt and nothingness.

Yet, we have all come here
to fulfill our purposes in life,
as unique individuals, as meaningful human beings.
Yet, we have all come here
to create, to produce, to enjoy, to love, to feel happiness.
Yet, we have all come here
to savor life, to envision future, to be a human being
with self-respect and self-actualization.

Yes, indeed, we all love liberty;
and we are all free beings under God.
Yes, indeed, we are all individuals;
we are all Americans.

We are builders, we are doctors,
we are athletes, we are artists,
we are labors, we are entrepreneurs,
we are scientists, we are preachers,
we are teachers, we are students....
We are all citizens of the United States,
equal before the law,
with freedom and justice for all.

Yes, indeed, we love the pursuit of happiness;
and we are here to realize our own dreams.
Yes, indeed, we are all individuals,
we are all Americans.

No matter where you are on earth,
no matter what conditions you are in,
no matter how you come into being,
the moment you realize
that you are a unique being,
the moment you realize
that you are an indivisible individual,
the moment you realize
that you have a destiny to fulfill,
the moment you realize you are equal with others
under God and before the law,
the moment you realize you are not nothingness,
but a marvelous existence by God,
you are already an American.

Yes, indeed, we are full of love, joy and life,
and we are here to enjoy every moment of our existence.
Yes, indeed, we are all individuals;
we are all Americans.
We sing, with our heart and deepest gratitude,
in praise of you - America:
May God bless you, my beloved America.

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