Who's asking: Mike Clements, W. Gardiner, ME
Service is the U.S. military is a time-honored method of immigrating to the United States, and since 2001, an executive order offers expedited citizenship to foreign nationals who serve in our military. My hometown has a large Filipino community, many of whose members originally came to Norfolk through a connection to the U.S. Navy.
That said, it must be a little surreal to wear the uniform of a country other than one's own homeland, and not very many people do it. While 7,500 members of the U.S. military became citizens in 2004, foreign nationals make up less than 3% of our military -- about 30,000 soldiers, sailors and Marine in all. The number of new non-citizen recruits declined last year, but the number of new recruits overall declined last year, too.
I grew up in a Navy family; I'm proud of my father's service, and have always been a little sorry that I didn't serve. But enlisting or enrolling in a service academy means that you trust your government to use you well -- and that's a lot to ask, in the United States of America in the year of our Lord 2006. Damn it.
Random songs off the iPod Shuffle this morning:
"Ranking Full Stop," The English Beat. Excellent skating music. If the weather holds, ponds should be ready for skating in another week or two...
"Whistling in the Dark," They Might Be Giants. Another potential theme song for my life. "I'm having a wonderful time/But I'd rather be whistling in the dark..."
"Come to Love," Matthew Sweet. This album (100% Fun) is not as good as his masterpiece, Girlfriend, but it's close. Nothing's better than solid pop.
"Chicago," Sufjian Stevens. My favorite cut off this CD (Illinois), which was a birthday gift from my friend Tom. Thanks, Tom!
"Love is Teasin'," Marianne Faithfull and The Chieftains. Marianne Faithfull is on my short list of famous people I'd invite to a dinner party. Don't you think she'd be cool to know?