Don't get excited, this isn't a political blog; not now, not ever. It's not that I don't have political opinions. I've got opinions on most everything, just ask Paul, but that's not where I'm going with this. I will tell you, though, I am a proud American. Not much gets me more choked up and teary than hearing our national anthem or seeing Americans in uniform.
As an amateur genealogist, I am always curious about another person's heritage. Not because I need to "label" them, I just often find it fascinating because I've always thought my ancestry was pretty boring. Of course that was before I made my Pilgrim connection. But I'm about as much of a WASP as you can get, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, a heritage I don't find very interesting.
But this idea of being hyphenated Americans is starting to get on my nerves. I am so sick of hearing people add the nationality of their ancestors to American, especially since it puts American in second position.
If you are a naturalized citizen, maybe that's a little different, but if you were born here, I don't care if your father, grandfather or great-grandmother was born on Mars.....you are NOT a Martian-American. YOU ARE AN AMERICAN!
I'm not suggesting that we forget where we or our families came from. Please don't ever forget your heritage. Families should remember their culture, their cuisine, their religion, their language. Please teach it to your children, your grandchildren. Be proud of your ancestry but do you really have to tag it onto the nationality you really are?
Paul and I spent two weeks in Portugal a couple years ago. On our way home when going through the Lisbon airport, one of the immigration officials asked for my passport. She immediately recognized that my last name, my married name, was Portuguese. Paul's grandparents were born in the Azores, a group of islands about 900 miles off the coast of Portugal.
When I got married almost 25 years ago, I probably should have kept my maiden name, it fit me a whole lot better than my married name does. As a six-foot redhead, no one would ever mistake me for being of Portuguese descent.
So when the immigration lady looked at my passport, obviously recognizing the origin of the name, she asked "Do you know anyone who is Portuguese?" I smiled, pointed at Paul and said, "Like him?" She glanced at his passport and gave me a withering look that seemed to ask, 'are you stupid?' then said "he was born in Massachusetts." In other words, "he's not Portuguese, he's American."
After that, I realized that in other countries, no matter where your parents, grandparents or any other ancestors were born, if you were born here, you are an American. So why can't we Americans seem to get that message?