The Notion of a Nation  

Posted by Brock Booher

What makes a nation a nation? Is it the borders that enclose and define it? Is it the language or languages spoken by its citizens? Does a specific culture determine nationhood? What makes a nation a sovereign entity or does a nation ever really rise to the level of sovereignty? Perhaps the notion of a nation is simply something we invent in our minds to help us better classify and organize our perception of the world. What makes a nation a nation?

It is true that language, culture, and geographic borders are characteristics of a nation, but characteristics do not a nation make. The Hawaiian Islands have a unique language, culture, and clearly discernable borders, yet they exist as a part of the United States of America, not an independent nation.

Only one thing can give birth to a nation and sustain its existence – Law - clear, enforceable, binding law.

A few years ago a member of my church drove into Mexico in search of shopping deals. As soon as he crossed the border, the Federales stopped him. They politely asked to search his vehicle, and he, being unfamiliar with the laws of Mexico, consented. During their very thorough search they found a small amount of ammunition in the glove compartment of his vehicle (a crime in Mexico). It took him several months to get released from a Mexican prison and return home to his anxious family.

Harsh you say? He broke the law in Mexico, and he suffered the consequences of a clear, enforceable, and binding law. That is what makes a nation a nation.

Another friend of mine was taking pictures of the subway in Moscow, clearly a heinous crime worthy of punishment. A Russian “Barney Fife” wrote him a ticket, and except for the quick talking of my friend’s interpreter, the official would also have taken his camera.

Ridiculous you say? He broke the law in Russia, and was punished by clear, enforceable, and binding law. That is what makes a nation a nation.

In 1994 Michael Fay pleaded guilty to vandalizing cars and stealing road signs in Singapore. He was sentenced to four months in jail, fined 3,500 Singapore dollars, and six strokes with a cane.

Cruel and unusual you say!? He broke the law in Singapore, and was sentenced according to clear, enforceable, and binding law. That is what makes a nation a nation.

Every nation in the world has as system of laws in place that dictate the requirements for entering and leaving its borders. Such laws dictate the required paperwork, points of entry, period of stay, and often include such minute details as the size of the rubber stamp and ink color in the inkpad. Nations that don’t control the movement of foreigners within their borders may soon find themselves in peril. Without those laws would a nation really be a nation?

We need only look to the history of the State of Texas as an example of what can happen if a nation fails to control the influx of foreigners. After winning its independence, Mexico encouraged and allowed organized immigration into Mexican Texas, but in few short years immigrants from the United States greatly outnumbered the Mexicans. This disparity fomented the flames of rebellion within a few short years, and the rebellion soon resulted in the formation of the Republic of Texas. Remember the Alamo? The Mexican nation was unable to enforce its laws in Texas, and a new nation rose up in its place.

We face a similar dilemma.

We as a nation need the “huddled masses” of immigrants. We rely on the influx of both talent and manpower to enrich our nation. Our immigration laws are structured to control that influx. But if our government simply ignores those who defy immigration law, then it is officially aiding and abetting criminals, and will not long stand as a ruling body.

Under the Constitution, our legal system clearly allows for freedom of speech, including speech that runs counter to our own established laws. Therefore, people that are here illegally are free to speak out against the very laws that they are breaking, without consequence. We should not change the law to eliminate freedom of speech.

However, if WE, as a governing body, wish to continue as a nation, WE must enforce our clear and binding immigration laws. If we consider our laws to be inappropriate or unenforceable, then we must work to change them. We cannot simply look the other way and pretend that the law will change. We must not be duped into believing that no consequences will follow our failure to enforce our immigration laws. The rule of OUR law is what makes US a nation.

We face a crossroads as nation, if we wish to remain a nation. Will we enforce our clear and binding immigration law, or will we cease to be a nation?

This entry was posted on Friday, April 30, 2010 at Friday, April 30, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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