When I was conscripted I took 5 paperback books with me. The army is a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, never something I was much good at. A paperback in the magazine-pocket of my 'browns' kept my sanity and, sadly for everyone else, my sense of humour. I can still quote swathes of most of them. One was Algis Budrys's 'Rogue Moon'. At one stage of the book the US government needs someone utterly trustable. So they turn to an immigrant from Eastern Europe - with the 'fierce patriotism of the New American'. It took me a while to understand this (I was only 17 and liked to think about things. I'm not 17 any more): but in a nutshell as a new settler the man was both intensely aware of the contrast between his birth country and his new home, and intensely grateful for being taken into it, and had a fierce desire to become more American than American.
Now I gather that is not so true in the US any more, with an odd 'well, America owes me' rationalisation among some migrants, who don't want to learn the language and fit in to the society and culture - bringing their own failed country with them, living in self-created ghettoes and resenting the country they now live in. To which I say: if you don't want to be there: go home. Money is not sufficient reason for that misery, and the one thing you as a foreigner migrant don't have is any entitlement at all. (If you were born there, your parents (and possibly their parents) taxes and probably blood spilled for the country 'paid' for your citizenship.) If you weren't, be glad if they'll have you.
In my search for drivers licence Info yesterday I went to the Immi.gov.au site - and happened to look at the citizenship tab, and follow it again. Now B and I intend to become citizens as soon as we possibly can - I think 4 years if memory serves (that's what I was looking up). On the site, that day (they seem to change them) was an audio of Bryce Courtney speaking about Australian citizenship. It plainly meant so much to him that he was unable to keep the emotion out of his voice. He said something that called very strongly to me: About a country that wants and loves you, and how much it means to return those feelings.
I remember, clearly, when the e-mail from my case officer at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship arrived, and I read it... twice, to make sure I had not got it wrong. Australia had accepted me and my family. Given us, on the strength of my writing, permanent residence visas. I sat and selfishly re-read it again, and a fourth time, devouring those words. Then I left my office and went and found and hugged B for a long time. I found it very difficult too, to manage a simple 'Australia's accepted us'.
I understand, perfectly, what Algis Budrys was getting at now.