The Nacilbupera Guzzle

Whoever examines with attention the history of the dearths and famines … will find, I believe, that a dearth never has arisen from any combination among the inland dealers in corn, nor from any other cause but a real scarcity, occasioned sometimes perhaps, and in some particular places, by the waste of war, but in by far the greatest number of cases by the fault of the seasons; and that a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniences of a dearth. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations IV.5.44)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Goodbye Iran, Hello USA!

Today Nacilbupera's honeybunny officially became a naturalized citizen of the USA! Honeybunny was born in oil country, SW Iran, not far from Iraq. She became a political refugee to the USA in 1979 when the Shah was overthrown and Khomeni began his iron-fisted rule as supreme leader both politically and religiously. She has lived and worked continuously as a legal, permanent resident alien in the US for the past three decades, never really even wanting to return to the once westernized, peaceful nation now bent on destroying Israel and the USA. She began toying with the idea of becoming a citizen a few years ago and the idea came to fruition late last year when she sent in her $750 and her application.

Nacilbupera found the Naturalization Test most intriguing. An applicant studies 100 US history, civics, political and geography questions and must answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly. The questions range from easy: "What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?" to moderate: "The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers." Honeybunny learned quite a bit in studying for the test; we would put her knowledge above that of the average American on the street, although most unfortunately that isn't the highest bar. The test examines the Constitution broadly, but not specifically. For example, none of the questions deal with identifying the section and amendments which limit the power of the federal government to the states or how the constitution has been misinterpreted by using the commerce clause as justification for just about anything.

The naturalization ceremony held in Salt Lake was thoughtful and inspiring. A choir from a junior high school sang for us as well as a couple of speakers addressed. Judge Samuel Alba, a naturalized citizen from Mexico, presided over the ceremonies and shared his story of being born to migrant farm workers and eventually becoming a District Court Judge. He provided the statistics from the group of 62 newly-naturalized citizens. They were from around the world, a couple of dozen countries represented including the largest representation: 13 from Mexico and 5 from each of India and Iran. Other countries we knew of included Haiti, Dominican Republic, Somalia, Russia, & Azerbaijan. The judge made everyone commit to do their duty and be a voter in the upcoming elections. He had volunteers speak on why they decided to become citizens; an overriding theme was freedom. One turbaned man praised the military's decision in March to allow Sikhs to keep their beards and turbans. (We're not really sure how you wear a helmet and a turban but the beards could be an asset in countries where beards are a cultural norm.)

It bothered us that English wasn't emphasized more. A few citizens were there with interpreters and citizenship documents are downloadable in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Chinese. While honeybunny is fluent in English, we wondered about the abilities of those few with interpreters. We don't understand the role of an interpreter if citizens are supposed to be able to speak, read, write, and understand basic English. Perhaps our observations didn't reveal a wholly accurate picture.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and highly recommend attendance at a swearing-in ceremony: the new citizens accompanied by their families and friends were friendly, patriotic, and optimistic. We wish them well and hope they will continue their studies of our county and its greatest document: our Constitution. Perhaps they will join us tomorrow in the numerous tea parties scheduled including here in Utah celebrating our country's protest and revolt from unconstitutional overtaxation and oppression.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to your wife. And welcome to the country (although I guess you have been here for a few years).

nacilbupera said...

Thank you, Travis!

Benjamin said...

Congrats!!! We're so glad that you did this! We saw how much effort it took and how much studying you did and we're so happy in seeing you succeed. Good Job! We love you tons!!

nacilbupera said...

Thanks, Benjamin!