When I first moved here, no Muslim women wore the Islamic garb and you could hardly tell on the streets who was Muslim and who was not. Later many Muslims found power in banding together, going back to Islamic garb and crying victimization. When I privately once asked a Muslim professor why she started wearing the Islamic head covering in America, she answered in a whisper, “The ethnic look is powerful in America!”
Let us preserve the great American capitalist system for our children and grandchildren and for future immigrants escaping third world tyrannies. Capitalism, like everything in life, is not perfect, but it is the best, natural and fairest system so far. Let us not fall into a culture of envy and tribalism; let us not kill the dream of unlimited opportunity.
It is crushing to see an American leader telling his people that he will bring them “redistribution of wealth” under the guise of “fairness.” This kind of political talk is more suited for Haiti or Egypt, but never America.
America’s citizens and its enthusiastic immigrants are pressured into a destructive culture of envy and empty government promises. Even the quality of free public education sank lower. As former teachers union head Albert Shanker allegedly said, “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.” We have allowed the quality of our lives to turn into a game of chess in the hands of a reckless mainstream media and politicians who want to monopolize the economy. As the economist Milton Friedman said, “Has anyone ever seen a monopoly that works in the best interests of the consumer?”
America must resist the seduction of dependency on big government. It would be a tragedy for both America and the rest of the world, if we turn away from the values that made America great. The world looks up to us because we represent hope to the majority of young people around the world. We must continue to inspire counties to become more like us and not us more like them. Right now, we are moving in the wrong direction.
Even though in Egypt I had a good job as a journalist and a well-to-do family with connections to the leaders of the Egyptian government, I could never have been financially independent, buy a car or rent an apartment on my own without family help. America was my outlet to freedom, economic self-reliance and escape from being surrounded by misery, injustice and poverty. I knew that if I worked hard, in America I would achieve success, and I did.
It is hard to explain to Americans how extraordinary it felt to enjoy the simple things Americans take for granted: the satisfaction of looking at a check after a hard day’s work, the ease of getting and decorating an apartment or buying a car, and dreaming of a bright future I knew could be achieved. Or how easy it is in America to do business, drive around, buy and sell whatever one needs without having to bribe, beg or threaten a lazy government worker who could not care less. Americans rarely hear about the daily difficulties faced by people in the outside world for even small comforts.
It felt remarkable to blend into American culture while preserving the fun and best traditions from my culture, which my American friends said they loved. It was so unusual to see a smile from a perfect stranger on the street, and hear “Do you need any help?” in a store. Many Americans have no idea that such little daily acts of pleasant interaction are uniquely American, rarely seen around the world. To the new immigrant, shopping is a pleasure — and affordable. I never envied “the rich” in America, and looked forward to achieving my own American dream – I, and many other immigrants, have done just that.
Americans would do so much better if they learn to resist the temptations of socialism, and of government trying to be our parent, guardian and dictator. The long lines of humanity waiting at American embassies around the world to immigrate to this country should become our inspiration to preserve the American capitalist system. It is why we immigrants moved here in the first place.
Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.