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What happened to my country Robert Sheridan bobsheridan This is the kind of discussion I love to see, folks from StatNisland baring their gut-level attitudes, maybe changing them, maybe not.

On one level I sympathize with Stan. When my grandparents got off the boat and settled on StatNisland, their kids rejected the language of the old country. The object was to assimilate as much as possible. The grandkids don't speak a word of the old language. So it seems natural that everyone should want to do that, because that's what our family did.

On the other hand, there's no rule that says everybody has to live the way I think is best. Why should everybody be like me or my family? We'd be in a helluva fix if that happened.

A lot of third generation Americans are trying now to reach back and find what they've lost, the old language, traditions, etc.

So if the new group, which may be very old, as pointed out above, decides not to forego the old language and customs, who am I to say that's a bad idea? It may be a very good idea, both for them and for the rest of us.

We may have to accommodate to things that we're not used to, and this may rub us the wrong way because it makes us uncomfortable, even angry, but that doesn't mean it's wrong.

Given a choice between letting people alone and telling 'em how to live, I think the better tradition in this country, the one that we ought to encourage, is the freedom way, the idea that you can live the life you choose to live, alone or in large numbers. If the rest of us have to learn to make room for you, well, that's not such a bad idea. Maybe it's better for us to learn a little more about you.

I didn't say it was going to be easy.


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