Rather than arguing about what to label people who have entered this country improperly, it’s time to shift the focus onto those of us who are already bona fide members of society but too often fail to live up to the responsibilities of full citizenship. Let me ask everyone, including those most irate about people arriving in this country illegally, a few pointed questions. Yes, our obligations include obeying the law and respecting authority, but there is much more.

If called to be on jury duty, did you participate willingly? Have you voted in all recent elections? Have you walked door-to-door or contributed money to support a candidate or cause? Have you stood up for what you believe in by speaking out before public bodies? Do you belong to any local groups or national organizations addressing critical problems and needs?

And what about serving your country? Rather than finding ways to avoid taxes, have you willingly paid your fair share to help run vital government programs that benefit us all? Have you been a member of the Armed Forces? What local nonprofits have gained from your volunteer time? Finally, what steps have you taken to preserve our nation’s environment and to protect our natural resources for future generations?

To sum up, I am convinced there are meaningful ways to address immigration issues while respecting all nationalities, but, instead of casting blame, if we are really serious about preventing a national decline, we will take a hard look at ourselves and ask whether we are willing to live up to our own expectations of what it means to be a patriotic


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