On citizenship

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George Takei at Columbia University, image credit Alex Lozupone

I’ve just started listening to the audio version of George Takei’s autobiography, To the Stars. I got it out of the library on his Trek creds, but already it is more compelling than I had naively expected.

He has just finished talking about his early childhood in Japanese internment camps (yes, plural) during the Second World War. Now, George has asked his father why he was applying to become a naturalized American citizen – after all the government-mandated xenophobic crap they went through during and after the war. Here is his father’s response:

If people like me aren’t willing to take a chance and participate, America strays that much further from its ideals. My choice is to help America be what it claims to be.

Wow. Still processing that.

I feel like that should be my motto for dealing with politics here in Canada:

My choice is to help Canada be what it claims to be.

What a profoundly responsible and positive response to things like Truth and Reconciliation, like squabbling over carbon taxes, like the xenophobia that is creeping through western societies today.

(I encourage anyone who doesn’t already to follow George on Twitter – he is stellar!)

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