American values at the crossroads the united states in the 21st century

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Topic 12: American values at the crossroads: The United States in the 21st century I Introduction II Development American values at the crossroads: The United States in the 21st century 1.1 Review about traditional American values 1.2 Factors that affect American history 1.3 20th century challenges to American values 1.4 The war in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal 1.5 The need for new national values 1.5.1 The status of the US in the world today 1.5.2 The new values American should adopt 1.6 The United States: The first universal nation? The comparison between American values and Vietnamese values 2.1 Values of American and Vietnamese 2.2 Factors affect history 2.3 Challenges to values in 20th century 2.4 The current position on the world stage now 2.5 Challenges to values in 21st century 2.6 The need for new National values III Conclusion I INTRODUCTION Traveling and working in the United States provides valuable opportunities for exchange visitors to gain exposure to day-to-day life, but they can also learn about U.S culture through books, movies, television shows, music, sports and food There are hundreds of ways to experience American culture, and even the most basic entertainment like TV shows allows visitors to see different perspectives on life in the U.S For more understanding about English, we learn American culture subject as American English is a popular dialect all over the world In contrast to many other cultures around the world, the American culture puts great emphasis on man's ability to control outside events, in large part through his mastery of technology Americans believe in setting strict deadlines and timetables, even for casual social events Productivity, self-reliance and "getting things done" are prized personal and professional qualities However, how traditional American values change during the long history of the country on the background of world challenges This is the main content we present in the discussion themed “American values at the crossroads: The United States in the 21st century” II DEVELOPMENT American values at the crossroads: The United States in the 21st century 1.1 Review about traditional American values For many international students, they comprehend that American values can be difficult and at times frustrated to understand American customs and values might be very different from those of your home country, and you might find them confusing To make traditional American values easier to understand, we need have a thorough looking on the context of them: racial and ethnic, religious and cultural diversity Most early Americans recognized this diversity, or pluralism as a fact of life The large variety of ethnic, cultural and religious groups meant that accepting diversity was the only practical choice, even if some people were not enthusiastic about it However, in time, many Americans came to see strength in their country’s diversity The reason is that historically, the United States has been viewed as the land of opportunity, attracting immigrants from all over the world The opportunities they believed they would find in America and the experiences they actually had when arrived nurtured this set of values Three represent traditional reasons why immigrants have been draw to America: the chance for individual freedom, equality of opportunity and material wealth In order to achieve these benefits, however, there were prices to be paid: selfreliance, competition, and hard work In times, these prices themselves became a part of the traditional value system 1.2 Factors that affect American history First, the United States has always had a racially and ethnically diverse population Sometimes these people get along well together, and sometimes they not At times there has been great suspicion and even hatred between people of different races and national origins But even in the darkest times, there have always been individuals who held up the ideals stated in the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness That is to secure these rights Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed Second, although Americans have traditionally had a strong distrust of their government, they have also had a strong faith in its design Over a period of more than 200 years, they have amended the United States Constitution only 26 times The first 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights, were added two years after the Constitution itself, and the last amendment was in 1971, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 The framework of the political system was designed to protect the freedom and the individual rights of the citizens Americans believe that this system has successfully carried the nation from the 18th century through the 20th, and that it will still protect them in the 21st century Third, the right of free speech and the existence of a free press have meant that all people have the right to express their opinions, and that everything from public policy to private concerns such as abortion or sexual preference can be openly discussed and debated The result is that all the problems of the country are displayed for the rest of the world to see The bad news is that there are always a lot of problems The good news is that there are also large numbers of individuals who are sincerely concerned about society's problems and are working hard to solve them Because Americans believe so strongly in the freedom and the worth of the individual, they have traditionally had an optimistic faith in the ability of individuals eventually to invent creative solutions to all the nation’s problems Fourth, in spite of the image of the United States and some of the actions that the government has taken, there is a long tradition of isolationism President George Washington declared in 1796: "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world." The spirit of isolationism persists even today, as Americans continue to debate what being a "world power" means Most people are not in favor of the United States becoming a "world policeman," for example Americans are very reluctant to see the United States become involved in international military actions unless they are convinced that there is some national interest to be protected, or that there is some great humanitarian need Americans are also skeptical about international economic alliances, wanting to be sure that self-interests are protected before commitments are made to other countries (This is why there has been so much debate about NAFTA.) Most Americans are more interested in what is happening close to home than what is happening in the rest of the world They want to know how events, national or international, will affect them personally Fifth, the United States, like all countries, goes through different political and economic phases that have a strong effect on the mood of the people When the economy is in good shape, people are naturally more optimistic about the state of their country and life in general Pollsters are continually taking the emotional temperature of the American citizens "What you think about the future?" they ask "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" As the mood swings back and forth from optimistic to pessimistic, or from liberal to conservative, the underlying traditional values have so far remained intact At times, Americans may talk about some values more than others, but when times get tough, many are likely to say that it is because the American people (and their government) have strayed too far from these traditional values Interestingly enough, pollsters find that there is really no statistically significant difference in the attitudes and values of young people, the middle-aged, or the older generation 1.3 20th century challenges to American values The 20th century was a time of enormous changes in American life We can see five factors at work in history challenges to American values The beginning of the 21st century seems a suitable time to look back over the past 100 years and see how the United States has developed, for better and worse, during that period of its In the early decades of the 20th century the American people benefited from industrial growth Cheap labor and assembly-line manufacturing made mass production possible Railroad networks carried the mass-produced goods, many of them the result of new technologies, around the country more retailers expanded their operations and laid the foundation for the consumer-driven society The US's industry grew promptly after World War I and The United State enjoyed the economic prosperity during the "Roaring twenties" The stock market crash of 1929 ushered in the Great Depression of the 1930s.Until World War II that the economy turned around and created new factory jobs due to need for weapons In the first decades, America experienced a large wave of immigration to its shores in the years following the American Civil War and Reconstruction In the years between 1881 and 1920 more than 23 million new immigrants arrived in the United States This wave of immigrants came from all parts of the world, but more came from southern and eastern European countries than any other regions By the late nineteenth century, transoceanic transportation had become significantly cheaper and less difficult, making it easier for poor Europeans to immigrate to the United States The first decade of this period saw most of the immigrants coming from northern and western Europe; after 1890, the majority came from Southern and Eastern Europe Major push factors for immigrants of this period were European population growth and subsequent overcrowding, scarcity of land, unemployment and food shortages The immigrants thought the US's industry was growing and the country had many jobs and they had the opportunity to live in a free and democratic society But a third of them not find the better life when they were seeking and even they left the United state and went back home On the 1950s, it was considered as an age of economic prosperity and national stability When fathers were working, mothers were at home with their children There was another side to the 50s, the Cold War with Soviet Union was in full swing, leading to fears of a nuclear holocaust and the communist takeover the world Joseph McCarthy create a climate that posed a serious threat to free speech in the United State There were two problems in the 1950s that had to be dealt with in 1960s: poverty and segregation The onslaught of America’s war is occurring at the height of a global economic depression marked by the downfall of State institutions, mounting unemployment, the collapse in living standards in all major regions of the World, including Western Europe and North America and the outbreak of famines over large areas This depression is far more serious than that of the 1930s.Financial markets have plummeted, national economies have collapsed and had put millions of people into abysmal poverty In the 1960s, President Johnson pushed through a plan called "The Great Society" to war on poverty and the next two decades the percentage of poor people did drop However, these programs began to create an expectation that the government, not the individual, should solve social problems The second problem was the continued legal segregation in the South Black Americans were regarded by many as second-class and the blacks were separated from whites by law and by private action in transportation, public accommodations, recreational facilities, prisons, armed forces, and schools in both Northern and Southern states Although the Supreme Court ruled in 1954, the segregation in public schools was unconstitutional It was not until the abolition of slavery in the United States, the nonviolent amendments and civil rights acts of the 1960s that segregation ended These Civil Rights led to the eventual passage of laws to protect the rights and equality of opportunity of black Americans Quota systems were enacted to try to improve the education level and job opportunities for African-Americans and gains were made In 1940, only 11% of blacks between 25 and 29 had completed high school, compared to 39% of whites Today, the percentage is about the same for both races The 1960s are most often remember as a decade of violence and unrest many leaders were assassinated such as President Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965 Bobby Kennedy in 1968.There were riots in a number of big cities Some fear riots would bring the country to the brink of a racial civil war but fortunately this did not happen 1.4 The war in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal The other major event in the 1960s was the American involvement in Vietnam After Kennedy's death, President Johnson vastly increased the number of American troops on Vietnam in order to prevent the Vietnamese communists from taking control of the country He believed that communism widely spread throughout Southeast Asia if it succeeded in Vietnam Eventually, it could threaten Japan, the Philippines, and even Hawaii This was called the "domino theory"; if one nation fell to communism, it would cause others to fall, like a line of dominoes Since the United States had had success in stopping communism from spreading from North Korea to South Korea, a policy trying to contain communism developed The United States tried sending of advisors to South Vietnam, followed by more and more troops By 1966, the struggle in Vietnam became a major American war Initially, most Americans agreed with the action But even so, there was stronger opposition to the Vietnam War than to any previous against American war in the 20 th century As the war dragged on and more Americans were wounded or killed, the opposition to the war grew Many of the opponents of the war attacked it as immoral On the other side, feelings were just as stronger There were those who believed that the United States had a moral obligation to fight against communism, defend freedom, and make the world safe for democracy Their message to anti-war protesters was "Americalove it or leave it!" However, the anti-war movement may have made many Americans who originally supported the war more doubtful about their beliefs In 1975, North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam Most Americans had been brought up believing that the United States had never lost a war Now it seemed that for the first time, this had happened Was the nation losing its strength? If it was, was this because it was losing fight in its traditional values? These were the kinds of troubling questions that Vietnam raised in the minds of many Americans In addition to the defeat in Vietnam, the 1970s brought the Watergate scandals and the forced resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974 Men paid by President Nixon's reelection committee were arrested for breaking into the national headquarters of the opposition Democratic party (in the Watergate building)* in order to place illegal listening devices on the telephones and to photograph Democratic Party documents President Nixon repeatedly denied any knowledge of the break-in and tried to cover up the involvement of his staff Eventually, a Senate investigation revealed the truth, and he was forced to resign (*Because the break-in occurred in the Watergate building, the scandal became known as "Watergate" Since then, problems that presidents have had have sometimes been named " gate" For example, when some of President Bill Clinton's appointees revealed that they had not paid proper taxes for nannies they had employed in their bones, the press referred to the affair as “Nannygate”) The failure of the Vietnam War effort and the resignation of President Nixon in disgrace made many Americans pessimistic about their country Furthermore, in the late 1970s, there was an economic recession and an oil crisis As Americans waited in line for gas for their cars, they wondered what had happened to the abundant resources they had always taken for granted For the first time since the depression of the 1930s, average Americans faced the possibility that their future standard of living might actually go down, instead of up In 1979, President Jimmy Carter gloomily observed, "the erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and political fabric of America The symptoms of this crisis of the American spirit are all around us.” This was not the message that Americans wanted to hear, however, and in 1980 they elected Ronald Reagan president Time magazine chose President Reagan as its "man of the year" and said of him: "intellectually, emotionally, Reagan lives in the past'' One of President Reagan's basic beliefs was that the United States should return as much as possible to its pre-1930 ways, when business institutions were strong and government institutions were weak Reagan had made his personal fortune in the years of America's greatest economic expansion, 1945 to 1965 He believed that there was no reason why Americans could not have the same opportunity in the 1980s to get rich; the United States could be as wealthy and strong as it ever had been in the past As taxes-the largest tax cut in American history - $2.6 trillion dollars by the time he left office in January of 1989 The debt had almost tripled in less than a decade On one hand, the 1980s was the decade when there was the longest economic growth ever, inflation and interest rates dropped, and more than 19 million new jobs were created But it was also the decade when the rich got richer, the poor got poorer, and the middle class got squeezed And the United States went from the largest money lender to the biggest borrower on earth The 1990s began as the decade when the bills had to be paid and the United States needed to find long-term solutions to social problems such as poverty, the breakdown of the family, violent crime, and the problems in the education system In the mid-1990s, the Republicans gained control of both Houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years, and the mood of the country was definitely more conservative Once again, there was talk of balancing the budget But what government programs should be cut? Welfare? School lunches for poor children? Defense? Social security? Health benefits for the elderly and the poor? In the 21st century, Americans will have to make tough choices, particularly as the baby boomers grow older, start to retire, and draw Social security* benefits (*Social Security is a government retirement system Almost all working Americans and their employers contribute to the Social Security fund, which is administered by the government and distributed to retired citizens.) 1.5 The need for new national values 1.5.1 The status of the US in the world today The US is facing many challenges The large amount of immigrants caused saturated culture The population grew rapidly, immigrant segregation has been rising and much of American culture is not admired in many parts of the world The economy also faced some continuing long-term challenges Although many Americans had achieved economic security and some had accumulated great wealth, significant numbers especially unmarried mothers and their children - continued to live in poverty Disparities in wealth, while not as great as in some other countries, were larger than in many Environmental quality remained a major concern Substantial numbers of Americans lacked health insurance The aging of the large post-World War II baby-boom generation promised to tax the nation's pension and health-care systems early in the 21st century And global economic integration had brought some dislocation along with many advantages In particular, traditional manufacturing industries had suffered setbacks, and the nation had a large and seemingly irreversible deficit in its trade with other countries Besides, Crime and environment pollution are also the big challenges that the US need to overcome The United States entered the 21st century with an economy that was bigger, and by many measures more successful, than ever Not only had it endured two world wars and a global depression in the first half of the 20th century, but it had surmounted challenges ranging from a 40-year Cold War with the Soviet Union to extended bouts of sharp inflation, high unemployment, and enormous government budget deficits in the second half of the century The nation finally enjoyed a period of economic calm in the 1990s: prices were stable, unemployment dropped to its lowest level in almost 30 years, the government posted a budget surplus, and the stock market experienced an unprecedented boom Besides, the first year of a president’s second term is supposed to be a time of continuity, but 2013 gave politicians, pundits, and the public plenty of fresh - and often chaotic - drama By the end of the year, President Barack Obama, the Republican Party, and the U.S Congress as a whole have all managed to put themselves into all-time lows in the national polls 2013 wasn't a pretty year in politics In addition, the American culture has been expanding and it has a mixed of people from all over the world 1.5.2 The need for new national values Nowadays, a number of leaders in politics, education, and other professions believe that the United States must adopt some new values to go along with the older traditional ones What new values should Americans adopt? This is a very difficult question to answer Certainly, a greater value should be placed on the conservation of natural resources; Americans should learn to use less and waste less But conservation has never been a strong value to Americans, who believed that their country offered an endless, abundant supply of natural resources Recently, progress has been made - more and more Americans are recycling their paper, cans, bottles, and other goods - but old wasteful habits die hard Furthermore, the need to protect the environment conflict with the need for jobs in the Northwest, where conservationists battle lumber companies that want to cut down ancient redwood trees, A belief in the value of conservation is still weak compared with other American values; it can become stronger only as Americans see the need for it more clearly In addition, Americans may need to place a stronger value on cooperation on a national scale achieve important national objectives The Americans idea of the national good has never been based on national cooperation but rather on the freedom of the individual, maintaining those conditions that provide the greatest freedom and prosperity for the individual It is far more difficult Americans to accept shared sacrifice for the common good and well-being of the entire country For example, although the majority of believe that it is extremely important to balance the national target and reduce the deficit, they not want to see cuts in government programs that benefit them personally The American value of competition also hinders the a spirit national cooperation Competition sometimes encourages feelings of suspicion rather than the mutual trust that is successful national cooperation Although Americans often cooperate successfully on the local level – in neighborhood groups and churches, for example - they become suspicious when the national government becomes involved For example, they may see themselves as part of an interest group that is competing with other groups for government funds A request by the national government for shared sacrifice may be seen as coercive and destructive rather than voluntary and constructive However, the demands of the 21st century may compel Americans to place a greater value on national cooperation to solve problems that affect them all, directly or indirectly 1.6 The United States: The First Universal Nation? One of the other challenges that the United States faces is the absorption of a new wave of immigrants that began in the mid-1970s As a result of the Vietnam War and events that followed, large number of refugees from Southeast Asia cane to the United States in the 1970s and 1980s In the 1980s and 1990s, there were large numbers of immigrants from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, some seeking political freedom, other looking for jobs and economic well-being The hope of finding “American Dream” still attracts them As a result of geographic location of the United States and immigration policies favoring family reunification, these populations have been growing more rapidly than those coming from other part of the world We have already discussed some of ramifications of the arrival of more than one million new immigrants into the Unites States per year Sometimes nations reach a “saturation point” where they cannot take in more people from other countries and still function well From time to time, the United States has chosen to limit the number of new immigrants it permits, just as many other countries have done Some Americans believe that as the 21 st century begins, the US may have again reached one of those saturation points when it can no longer comfortably absorb millions of new immigrants Some politicians have played on the fears and have spoken out against immigration In 1996 presidential primaries, while seeking Republican nomination, Pat Buchanan actually suggested building a wall along the US-Mexican border to keep out illegal immigrants On the other hand, many recognize that new immigrants bring new life and energy into the US As the baby boomer gets older, these immigrants may be an important source of youth a vitality for the nation Perhaps most importantly, the diversity of ideals and cultures in the US may be one of its greatest sources of strength as it moves into the 21 st century Ben Wattenberg, an expert in American culture, believes that the US has an advantage because it is becoming a microcosm of the world- it may be the first “universal” nation, where people from every race, religion, culture and ethnic background live together in freedom, under one government Because Americans come from so many different countries, people all over the world can identify with the US and its values The popularity and influence of American culture can be one indication that this is happening Wattenberg says “People all over the word listen to our music, read our books, watch our tapes American culture- for all its ills and all its glory- has become the only broad-based global culture there is.” Much of American culture, however, is not admired in many parts of the world American movies, television, and videotapes are often thought to have so much sex, violence, and loud music Foreign observers also note the high divorce rates, the level of violent crime, and other negative facets of American life Many conclude that Americans carry their favorite value of individual freedom too far, to the edge of social chaos Wattenberg agrees that the US still has serious problems that it must solve, but he does not believe that the country is really declining Wattenberg believes that a nation made up of people from around the world, whose culture has worldwide appeal, is not a nation in decline However, the American people and their values have reached another historic crossroads Americans can be certain of only one thing- that the rapid pace of change will continue How Americans respond to these changes is a question that can be answered only as events of the 21st century unfold The comparison between American values and Vietnamese values ITEMS AMERICAN VIETNAMESE _ Individual freedom _ Self-reliance _ Equality of opportunity _ Equality of competition _ Material wealth _ Hard - working _ Allegiance to the family _ Respect for other people _ Community spirit _ Sacrifice _ Patriot Root of differences in values 2.1 VALUES America was born by Vietnam is a tropical people who wanted country, so its freedom and equality cultures come from a came from many physical living countries on the environment, world; as a result, agriculture culture or they supported equal rice water culture opportunity for which required each everyone without individual must be in personal background group to survive or family liners Being under the control of so many different entities for centuries has certainly affected the nation as a whole _ The US goes through _ Vietnam was colonize by different political and many different forces economic phrases that throughout its history, it have a strong effect on influences strongly on the mood of the people the national politics and economy _ The US has always had _ The population of Vietnam racial and ethnical has considerable diverse population diversity with 54 ethical Sometime these people nationalities such as get along well together, Kinh, Khmer, Hmong and sometime they 2.2 FACTORS AFFECT HISTORY not _ Americans have _ Vietnamese have a strong traditionally had a trust of their strong distrust of their government with a government but they single - party The have also had a strong political system was faith in its design establish to serve people’s benefits _ Thé right of free speech and _ The Vietnamese constitution the existence of a free stated that citizens have press are allowed, even right to freedom of related to abortion or speech and public at ion sexual preference in accordance with law _ There is a long tradition of _ Vietnamese uphold the isolationism They are spirit of solidarity, skeptical about mutual assistance international economic _ Vietnamese values are alliances, more based on collectivism interesting in what is or allegiance to the happening close to family that believe home than what is responsibilities rights happening in the rest of and commitments of a the world _ There was mass immigration from southern and eastern European countries, at times as many as million people per year – 1% of total population 2.3 CHALLENGES TO _ Great depression VALUES IN 20th seriously affected economy CENTURY and even population with the “baby boom” _ The Cold War with the Soviet Union _ In 1950s & 1950s, US had to deal with are poverty and segregation _ The 1960s are the most often as a decade of group or a family is more important than their own individual desires _ In Northern Vietnam, a drought coupled with pests caused the winter – spring harvest of 1944 to decrease by 20% After that there was a flood during the harvest season, causing the crisis to occur _ The Vietnamese Famine of 1945: Nearly million people had starved to death during this time and the illiteracy was 95% _ From 1965 to 1972 thousands of US troops arrived equipped with heavy weapons and tanks violence and unrest 2.4 POSITION _ The US is the biggest CURRENT economy in the world Moreover, the US military is powerful Its affects the world’s economy and policy _ US is the outstanding member of well-known organization over the world such as NATO, G7, WTO… Economy _Disparities in wealth, while not as great as in some other countries, were larger than 2.5 in many CHALLEN GES TO _The aging of the large postWorld War n baby-boom VALUES ST generation promised to tax IN 21 the nation's pension and CENTURY health-care systems early in the 21st century _Public debt Social _The absorption of new wave of immigrants makes the population to grow more rapidly _Racism: Although the racism in the US has been eliminated, the reality is not so _The increasing income gap between the poor and the wealth _Much of American culture is not admired in many parts of the world Movies, TV and backed by the most powerful bombers of the time- B52s _ Vietnam is more and more developing nowadays Vietnam plays an important role in encouraging the national liberation movement and contributing the world peace _ Vietnam increasing affirms its position in the area and international arena _ Vietnam is the member of ASEAN, WTO.APEC… _Vietnam's economic lacks the sustainable development _The speed of development is outpacing regulatory measures and procedures, opening the way for widespread corruption and fraud _Aging population poses major challenges for the economy and social security _The unemployment rate is more and more increasing nowadays because of the low-skilled labor market _Living standard: The people's life is becoming better but still poor in many factors: education, environment health, services programs and video tapes _Vietnam is regularly ranked are often thought to have among the most corrupt too much sex, violence and countries in the Asia loud music _Some elements generally _There is a high divorce rate, the consider to be level of violent crime characteristic of Vietnam culture to study have been faded Environment _ Ever since the beginning of the _ Economy development had led to the increase in irrational use Industrial Revolution in the of natural resources and fuel United States, America has as well as environmental had much trouble with pollution environmental issues, air _ Natural resources are becoming pollution in particular exhausted increasingly due to over-exploited 2.6 THE NEED FOR NEW NATION AL VALUES _Americans should learn to _Need more proactive, useless and waste less confident sharing one’s own idea and dare to act _The need to protect the environment _Learning and applying knowledge about _Americans may need to place sustainable development a stronger value on to environmental cooperation on a national protection scale to achieve important national objectives III CONCLUSION Cultural awareness is hugely important in our increasingly international and global communities Businesses, both small and large, are increasingly working within a global market and with multicultural teams The ability to communicate openly with other cultures is vastly important to create a successful business with an open and welcoming culture and attitude If you have intention of travelling or doing business on an international scale you’ll have experienced cultural differences They can lead to some general amusement over misunderstandings however, they can cause some issues in business or your career We’ve put together this blog to explain cultural awareness and some top tips for avoiding any conflict borne out of cultural differences in the workplace, and allowing you to leave a good impression So that the cultural subjects are very important to students at university before they can business So is American culture as the United States is one of the most powerful economies in the world In the discussion about the topic “American values at the crossroads: The United States in the 21st century”, we have present some main point about the changes of American values at the crossroads and the relevant ones Hopefully, the discussion can provide you the useful and interesting information under American culture subject GROUP’S MEMBERS Full name 10 11 Class ... the main content we present in the discussion themed American values at the crossroads: The United States in the 21st century II DEVELOPMENT American values at the crossroads: The United States. .. culture as the United States is one of the most powerful economies in the world In the discussion about the topic American values at the crossroads: The United States in the 21st century , we... directly or indirectly 1.6 The United States: The First Universal Nation? One of the other challenges that the United States faces is the absorption of a new wave of immigrants that began in the mid-1970s
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