When I think of home, I think of all of my family - all six of us- being home at the same time. This so rarely occurs that I hardly remember a time when one of us was not busy. I picture a summer in Michigan, all of us at the dinner table with a homemade meal in front of us. My older brother is cracking jokes to make me and my sister laugh while my dad is sharing something with my younger brother that made him laugh that day at work. My mom joins in. There is nothing to distract us from this half hour of bliss where the six of us are together, completely aware of each other just being ourselves and having a normal day that has somehow become unique, that never seems to happen anymore. It is my American Creed that is not always possible for everyone despite how much they may believe it could be.
I am lucky enough to be the great-granddaughter of English and South African immigrants that came to America in the late 1930’s. A creed is a belief that guides someone’s actions. I do not know what guided my great-grandparents actions to come to America in the first place. Maybe they were looking for an escape from all of the tension leading up to the second world war, or maybe they were just simply looking for a better life like so many other immigrant families do. America is a melting pot of many cultures and presented as the land of opportunity and freedom which draws in people from all over. Some immigrants manage to obtain their American Creed. Some, however, may feel as though everything has been stacked against them.
Everyone wants to believe in America, that America is the place where everyone has an equal opportunity to reinvent themselves. Some families do make it in America, my own family is an example of that. However some families are despised because they came from another country, cannot speak good enough English, or are not educated enough. It is ironic that descendants of immigrants disrespect the first generations of current immigrants. There are laws in place that make it seem as though the United States is all for welcoming immigrant families, but they can be a scam if the rules are not followed precisely. They can make it impossible for those who are not citizens to attend school, find a decent job, or do anything they aspired to come to America and do. The American Dream and everything that comes with it is fragile and can only be aspired through hard work and a little bit of luck because nothing in life is free.
The current American Creed is a contradiction and a lie. However people are still going to try and make their lives better for the next generation. While one’s background will impact how they achieve their American Creed, it is mostly by hard work and education that determines one’s destiny in today’s America. Education is the armor for immigrants against the views of today’s society. With it, doors of opportunities and possibilities open for the taking. Education enables anyone to become what they want to be in America, and we cannot leave others behind in this development. If American citizens want to improve America for future generations, we have to help current immigrant families find their place among us. Like everyone else, all they want is the best life possible for themselves and their families.
The American Creed is attainable. It may not be the stereotypical white-picket fence and a family with two kids and a dog, but it is possible. Citizens and immigrants need the other, we can learn so much about other cultures and what life is like around the world from each other. Everyone has different aspirations and, in turn, different creeds to live by. My American Creed would be to achieve the simplicity of just having my family altogether in one place like it used to be. Change is difficult for everyone and should be made simpler for those who only want the best life for their families in America.