I want to say unequivocally that while I cherish every person who comes from anywhere, who comes here legally and seeks to pursue happiness, and I hope all of them decide to stay and become American citizens, but I want them to become American. And part of becoming American involved English. It is vital historically to assert and establish that English is the common language at the heart of our civilization.
I have an identity crisis which is not resolved because I'm a dual citizen. My whole family is American, and I was born in India but I was raised in Canada. But all my extended family is American, I've held an American passport and I've spent my whole adult life in between New York and LA. So I feel like an American... and I also feel like a Canadian! I wish more people were dual citizens and then I wouldn't feel like such a freak.
What you do is as important as anything government does. I ask you to seek a common good beyond your comfort; to defend needed reforms against easy attacks; to serve your nation, beginning with your neighbor. I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens, building communities of service and a nation of character.
The question of whether we were misled into the war in Iraq isn't a liberal or conservative or Republican or Democratic question, it's an American one. Protecting the democracy that we ask our sons and daughters to die for is our responsibility and our trust. Demanding accountability from our leaders is our job as citizens. It's the American way. So may the truth win out.
We're not going to deputize a whole bunch of American citizens to start grabbing people or turning them in, in part because the ordinary American citizen may not know whether or not this person is illegal or not. But, you know, the notion that we're going to criminalize priests, for example, or doctors who are providing services to individuals, and throw them in jail for doing what their calling asks them to do, which is to provide help and service to people in need, I think that is a mistake. I think that's out of America's character.
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