Poetic Tongues/Fabu

Poetic Tongues

Welcome to Our Newest Americans


When celebrating a birthday with a friend, all three of us started spontaneously singing an Italian song in recognition of our mutual love of pizza. We were raised in Memphis, Milwaukee and Chicago. Yet all singing the exact words in the same melody made us realize this is one important gift from being raise in a multicultural country. The gift is that you can learn a little or a lot about the other American cultures living here.

Lots of Americans certainly eat each other’s traditional foods and share a mutual exposure to pop culture music. This sharing doesn’t include everyone in this country across all generations. Recently while vacationing at Moon Beach in the North Woods of Wisconsin, I met a couple who had never eaten tacos. Thinking about people who never experienced the joyous adventure of eating cuisines from other cultures, the spice and the flavor, made me a little sad. I love eating new foods as a way of sharing a small part of the global American experience.

As a youth, I never liked the concept of the American melting pot. It is a fallacy because American cultures do not blend together into one, but rather remain distinct and separate. What American cultures do, and marvelously well, is allow all of us to be connected by participating and enjoying multiple cultures together.

The United States of American has welcomed three groups of people to this country, for different reasons, during my lifetime.  They are Hmong, Cubans and now Afghans. The first formal welcoming of hundreds of thousands of Europeans was during the 1800s.  Even then, their reception in America, depended on what was their country of origin, was mixed.  The stigma of immigration has faded for Germans, Irish, Polish and other European immigrants but not as rapidly for others.

The Hmong came in large numbers in the 1970’s after being allies with the U.S. since the 1950’s.  Hmong soldiers sacrificed greatly to fight for the U.S. and by 1990, about 100,000 refugees had entered the United States.  Approximately 250,000 Hmong live in the U.S. today.  I remember in 1980, Fidel Castro, allowed immigration to the U.S. and Cubans also came to Wisconsin.  I was very young and wondered, how will tropical people survive the Wisconsin winters?  Cubans had been immigrating to the U.S. for decades but most settled in Florida with almost two million living there. They have infused Cuban culture into everyday Florida life.

We are reading about the U.S.’s moral obligation to rescue the Afghan people who helped our troops, as translators and in other roles, as well as everyone whose life is in danger because they collaborated with us.  While some people are bemoaning the number who are entering the U.S., it is more significant to remember all the Afghans who deserve U.S. help too but who were left behind because of the August 31 deadline.

Fort McCoy in Wisconsin is authorized to receive up to 22,000 Afghan refugees fleeing from Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the country.  This base also housed about 14,000 refugees from Cuba too. Right now there are approximately 8,000 Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy. I’d like to welcome the Afghan people to the United States and to Wisconsin. To leave your country, your way of life and people you love, in order to live another day, has to be traumatic. Next will come the attempts to blend their culture into American culture and to keep their most important traditions intact. No doubt in the decades to come, Afghans will contribute to our cuisine, our traditions and also our music.

The United States is a better country, in my estimation, for all the peoples that are also American citizens.  This weekend, our city celebrated Mexican Independence Day. I enjoyed seeing the Mexican flags waving on cars in processions down Park Street. I blew my horn in solidarity and yelled out “Viva Mexico” in recognition for their many contributions to our country and their delicious cuisine, especially tacos.

Ten Easy Ways to Save Energy This Summer

From Madison Gas and Electric Company (MGE)

Stay cool and comfortable at home with these tips from MGE.

  1. Use a qualified contractor to professionally maintain your central air at least every two years. And, be sure to clean leaves and grass clippings off your outdoor air-conditioning unit.
  2. Run major appliances before 10 a.m. and after 9 p.m. or on weekends. This helps lower the demand for power during peak times.
  3. Set your thermostat as high as is comfortable, preferably 78°F or higher when you are home and up to 85°F when you are away. Consider upgrading to a smart thermostat—they can adjust temperatures automatically based on your routine and can make saving energy easier!
  4. Swap your lightbulbs with LEDs, which use up to 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last longer.
  5. Unplug your phone chargers, printers, computers and other electronics when you are not using them. These devices can still use energy when not in use and can account for 5 to 10% of your total energy use.
  6. Run a whole house fan, room or ceiling fans. Be sure to turn off ceiling and room fans when no one is in the room—fans cool people, not rooms.
  7. Seal around your window air conditioner so cool air cannot escape. If you need to purchase a new unit, consider a Wi-Fi window air conditioner—you can control them remotely with smartphone apps, which allow you to adjust the temperature while you’re away.
  8. Keep your window coverings closed to block out direct sunlight.
  9. Run full loads in your washer and dryer to cut down on excess energy usage.
  10. Keep your water heater temperature set at 120°F, and if you go on vacation, remember to switch it to vacation mode.

By managing our energy use collectively, we can help manage energy costs and reduce carbon emissions as we work together to achieve net-zero carbon electricity by 2050. Find other features about saving energy at mge2050.com.

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