Becoming a citizen

Becoming a citizen of the U.S. may be something not many people really want to do these days, but this practice civics test for people to become naturalized citizens is a good review for people who are already citizens. I wonder if our current president could pass this test (especially question 9). Here are a few examples:

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civics-test-q7

civics-test-q8

“Naturalization is the process to voluntarily become a U.S. citizen if you were born outside of the United States. You may be eligible if you can show continuous U.S. residence for three to five years, are at least 18 years old, and demonstrate good moral character and loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. You must also take the English and civics test, unless you qualify for an exemption.” (from the Explore My Options page)

The application process for permanent residents to become citizens is $640. That’s a lot of money.

I was a little nervous taking this practice test. Like a TOEIC or TOEFL test, I should pass with flying colors, right?

i-passed

This story from a couple of years ago said that high school students in one US state had to pass a civics test to graduate. I don’t think this is too much to ask. And I think that people running for president, congress, and any other public office should have to take one.

These are the requirements for becoming a Japanese citizen. Again with the “good moral character”! Where’s the practice test for that? These requirements are pretty much the same as those for becoming a US citizen. Except you’re not allowed to hold dual citizenship in Japan.

becoming-a-japanese-citizen


Writing prompt: What does being a citizen of Japan mean to you? Would you ever give up your Japanese citizenship to become a citizen of another country? Why do you think some immigrants to Japan become naturalized citizens? Do you know any?

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Making a “perfect” country

my-perfect-country

“My Perfect Country” is a radio program by the BBC (13 episodes as of today, and there will be a total of 14) which imagines how we could build a perfect country, based on the best policies of countries around the world. We could use Japan’s gun control policies, Costa Ricas’ green energy techniques, Peru’s methods of reducing poverty, and more.

The episodes are 27 minutes in length, but there are also shorter clips:

clips

Another idea to add to the list:

“Iceland knows how to stop teenage substance but the rest of the world isn’t listening” (from Mosaic)

Can you think of others?

Although I don’t think perfection is possible in most things in life, a willingness to try to change things for the better is a more beneficial way to spend our time than complaining.

“Show up. Dive in. Stay at it.”

President Obama gave his farewell speech yesterday. You can watch the whole thing here:

Here’s the transcript. UPDATE April 2017: That link seems to be dead now. I wonder why. Here’s the transcript from the LA Times.

And here is a highlights clip:

Here is one summary/analysis: “Eight of the Biggest Takeaways From President Obama’s Farewell Address” (from NBC)

Here are highlights of some other presidents’ farewell speeches: “Obama’s Farewell Address: How Presidents Use This Moment Of Reflection” (from NPR)

One of my favorite parts:

“Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Stay at it.”