(CCU Faculty) Last week at the Centennial Institute’s debate on Immigration State Senator Lucia Guzman encouraged the audience to be “citizens of the world.” The response from the overwhelming conservative crowd was a chorus of boos, followed by a reproof by John Andrews for their incivility. Afterwards I personally apologized to Senator Guzman and expressed my agreement with her. Although I am a conservative Republican, I am also a citizen of the world.
As a young man I attended the Defense Language Institute then served as a linguist in Military Intelligence during the Cold War in Berlin. While most soldiers hung out with each other at bars frequented primarily by Americans, I joined a German speaking church and befriended many Germans. At the end of my term of service my German girl friend wanted to marry and return with me to America, but I wasn’t ready for such a commitment. While living in Germany I preferred to spend my holidays traveling Europe, instead of returning to the U.S. like other soldiers.
I spent the next two decades teaching World History and German and coached the Model U.N. team in a high school in East L.A., while also getting a B.A., two Masters, and a doctorate all in international (not American) History. I also led numerous student tours to Europe and the Soviet Union.
While finishing my doctorate in London, I attended a Bible Study for international students where I met my wife. I proposed to her in Paris, flew to New Zealand to meet her parents, returned to California where we were married, and now we live in Lakewood where I teach the history of Europe, Russia, Asia, the Middle East and Africa at both CCU and CU Boulder.
In 1999 I took 20 students to study Islam on the Arabian Peninsula, Hinduism in India, and Buddhism at the Dalai Lama’s Monastery in the Himalayas. In 2004 I received a Fulbright Scholarship to lecture on Western Civilization and Free Markets in a former Soviet Republic where my Jewish grandfather was born a century ago. A few of my students were children of former Communist Party officials angry that the Soviet Union had collapsed, but most just wanted me to sponsor their immigration to the United States. While there I dropped my kids ‘cold turkey’ into a Russian–speaking elementary school, and had a rather rotund Russian woman come to our apartment two nights a week to tutor our entire family in Russian. On our way to the former Soviet Union we rented a car and drove through Eastern Europe; on the way home we stopped for a week in Istanbul, Turkey. Every few years we cross the Pacific to visit my wife’s family in New Zealand.
In 2007 I got a fellowship to Oxford University in England. Afterwards I took my wife and kids to the south of France for six weeks where my wife’s family owns a vacation home. I have studied seven languages, traveled to over forty countries, five of which I lived in for a while. My wife is a citizen of New Zealand and Ireland, which gives her EU citizenship, so we can live and work in any European country. Before meeting me she lived in three different Asian countries, as well as several Western ones. Our eldest daughter is about to marry a Brazilian who is ethnically Chinese and travels the world as an architect for the Disney Corporation.
I have hundreds of former students in over fifty countries around the world as missionaries, relief workers, and solders. They are with the State Department, the Intelligence community, in counter terrorism and economic development in Africa. Most maintain correspondence, informing me of global events not covered by our media.
When I heard those ‘boos’ last week, I was ashamed. We conservatives cannot ignore the rest of the world. Christ has called us to spread his message to the world. President Reagan told us that America is “the last best hope for mankind.” We should offer these hopes to those around the world, yearning for what we have, and not make it necessary for them all to move here in order to achieve it. Our world is becoming Global, and it would be a huge mistake for us to bury our heads in the sand.