Democracy and Citizenship

We have a clear concern between the two readings, and that is without a doubt the issues within and around citizenship. It is important to begin with the firsthand account of Jesus Apodaca in the article. He graduated from high school as valedictorian of his class, and was given a scholarship to attend the University of Colorado. Shortly after, the scholarship was revoked as the university found out that he had illegally entered the country with his family when he was only 12 years old. Along with this, he would be required to pay out-of-state tuition if he were to attend the university. Some believed this was right, while some believed it was wrong.

This is where everything gets fuzzy. You have many people who think and act on the side of fact, logic, and what is held to be true. Then you have the people who think and act on emotion. When you let emotion get in the way, you are only creating more barriers to overcome. When you look at facts and reason, things become much easier. Many people were upset that Jesus had achieved so much and it was all going to be taken away because of the choices of his parents. But the fact of this situation with Jesus was that he was ineligible according to law and his illegality, simple as that. I am in no way against immigration. I just believe in lawful, logical outcomes. But considering this, when looking at the facts, why is the concept of citizenship still so fuzzy? Because of space.

The laws and ideas associated with citizenship are complex, intricate and change everywhere you go. Despite this, they largely go unnoticed in every day life, and we pay no attention if it doesn’t require our attention. The roots of citizenship come back to politics, and though modern politics have very much expanded beyond the borders of the state, the ideas and laws concerning citizenship have not. But why not? In an age where borders almost mean nothing in terms of how a government and people work and live on a daily basis, thanks to things like mass media, globalization, etc., why must citizenship be such a complicated matter? On a personal note, I get asked all the time, “Where are you from?” Well, I’m from America. Born and raised in Indiana. Clearly that is not the answer people are looking for. My nationality? Still American. Ethnicity/Race? Ohhh, well in that case, I identify as South Korean. But if I were to fly over to South Korea, they would not consider me to be “one of them.” I am technically not a citizen of South Korea, not on paper anyway. Would they notice or question me though? Probably not.

I think this is an important point. As it is stated in Chapter 4, nothing fits neatly within state boundaries. As things like capital and labor continuously flow in and out of boundaries, so do people. For many people, the idea of citizenship is losing importance, and many personally identify with multiple places equally. In an age where we seem to move on from everything in a modern direction, why can’t this be the case for citizenship? Why is there not a universal, concrete structure for these issues? Why is the vast majority of population so misinformed? I will admit, I am not completely clear on every detail myself, and I am willing to bet no one is. Until there is some universal clarity on these matters, if ever, I guess citizens will keep being citizens, and immigrants will keep being immigrants (according to law) through the formed identities we create ourselves.  

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