What is in a Citizenship ???
As most of you already know, I will be a US Citizen in a few days. I have been outspoken about pretty much everything in my entire life.. so why change the trend here ? I will tell you all about this major decision!
Most of the naturalized Americans that I have known changed their National affliation as a matter of convenience or did so as an eventuality . In a way, they gave reasons like :
What choice do I have ? My kids are Citizens ! or the
What else can I do ? I have decided to stay in the US. Might as well be a Citizen!
Most of these people know that they are godfearing, taxpaying honest working folk who know that once they apply for US Citizenship, they will not be turned down! After all, they would be model citizens for any country.
If it was that easy to switch nationalities, why doesnt every Indian guy I know who has settled here gone for it ? In my opinion (based on my limited observation of these people), the only tricky part, is the oath of allegiance. People who love their country too much to consciously say these words, especially envisioning the scenario of the US going to war with their former fatherland/ motherland, get emotionally drained and feel conflicted by this.
I reproduce the oath here for people who do not know what it is :
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."
I know a lot of naturalized citizens who held on to their permanent residency status for more than 10 years and finally decided to go for it .. their main problem .. the oath.
As for me, I am a very attached to India. Twenty years of growing up, being born and raised Indian, I do believe in "Mera Bharat Mahan" (India is great).. I also believe that just because one fine day I take an oath, I erase my past or change my belief or value system. So why do this ?
I for the most part want to VOTE !! My kids are growing up here and most likely I will stay in the United States because I like my work here and my life here. But, I dont have any say in any policy making that affects my kids or my future !! A local city council candidate came to my door recently tryiing to get my vote. When he realized I wasnt a citizen, he gave me a look that said "Why did I waste my time with you ?". I wasnt offended by that. It made me think "Here is this guy who is going to decide what is going to decide important things from my kids lunch menu to the fate of local parks to how much money our local public library gets !!!" and I dont have the power to vote this dude down because he doesnt think about people like me who are working very hard to get where we are !! That kind of decided it for me.
I am going to take the oath in all sincerity, in the hope that I wont have to bear arms. Maybe there are people who take the oath so they can actively subscribe to the homegrown militia groups, but I have plenty of american friends who have never touched a gun and are turned off by the thougtht of ever having to fire one.. They will be my role models!! At the end of the day a good citizen of India or the United States should be a good citizen of this world and should strive for a better world !
I am changing affiliations with that goal.
One thing I can promise : This new citizenship will not stop me from taking on the happenings in India or the United States with my usual dose of satire...