Proud American

My message for actress Emily Blunt on Citizenship Day

Ricky Checo, center, of the Dominican Republic, takes the oath of allegiance along with other immigrants during a citizenship ceremony at Liberty State Park, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, in Jersey City, N.J. Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is celebrated each year on Sept. 17, on the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution in 1787. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is expected to welcome more than 36,000 new citizens during more than 200 naturalization ceremonies across the country from Sept. 17-23. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Ricky Checo, center, of the Dominican Republic, takes the oath of allegiance along with other immigrants during a citizenship ceremony at Liberty State Park, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, in Jersey City, N.J. Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is celebrated each year on Sept. 17, on the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution in 1787. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is expected to welcome more than 36,000 new citizens during more than 200 naturalization ceremonies across the country from Sept. 17-23. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Actress Emily Blunt, now starring as an FBI agent in the movie "Sicario," first became known to American audiences as the sassy assistant Emily in "The Devil Wears Prada," recently became a U.S. citizen. But in media interviews promoting her upcoming film, she expressed regret, saying the hardest part for her was pledging her non-allegiance to her former queen.She told Jimmy Kimmel she had to renounce the queen but not really mean it.

“I had to renounce her in the room but I don't actually, technically renounce her. They were like, 'Just say it. You don't have to mean it, but just say it.'"  

I’ve got news for you, Emily Blunt. Contrary to what the immigration officials seemed to convey to you during your ceremony, words have meaning – especially when you say them under oath.

I’ve got news for you, Emily Blunt. Contrary to what the immigration officials seemed to convey to you during your ceremony, words have meaning – especially when you say them under oath.

I was born in Sweden and am now an American citizen. It is true that we, immigrants who become citizens by naturalization, have to learn a heck of a lot more about U.S. history and government than the average citizen might know.  But it is for a good reason. Choosing to become an American gives you rights, but it also gives you responsibilities. Supporting our form of government is one of them. That means renouncing your queen, just like I had to renounce my king when I became an American 10 years ago. And it does mean something.

“We the people” have the power, not the king or queen, and no one is above the law.

You can still like your queen, but when you take the citizenship oath you are no longer her subject.

I still keep up with the Swedish Royals -- they are like distant family members to me and it is nice to see them grown up -- but I would not curtsy if I met them. I think they represent Sweden well for the most part, but I took an oath to support our republic, not a monarchy. 

I vehemently disagree with the principle that someone should be given a role just based on who their parents are. I do not believe in systems of government that gives certain rights to a person, based on the color of their skin, religious background, gender or bloodline.

I volunteer as a teacher in citizenship classes for immigrants helping to prepare them for their naturalization interview. Many of the students have fled war, persecution, and poverty. Others have emigrated for love. Some have been here for years, other just arrived 3 years ago. 

They come from all over the world, including countries where royals are not subject to the laws of the land.

I teach the students that the rule of law applies to everyone, including President Obama and Rowan County City clerk Kim Davis.

For many, the concept of “no one is above the law” is foreign to them.  Contrary to many countries where only a select few can become leaders, our system of government proves your background or social class will not determine your future.

We don’t care who your parents are, what matters is what you do and the content of your character.

We’ve come far and we continue to evolve.

Today, we have a president who was born to an African immigrant. A number of American presidents were raised by single mothers. 

We allow people to marry whomever they want to marry.

And I sure do hope that soon enough we will also see our country elect a female president -- we are, after all, fifty percent of the nation's population. It’s about time. And I don’t care who her parents are.

As we watch the presidential candidates speak their mind on the campaign trail, Ms. Blunt, I hope you cherish the fact that these guys and gals are doing something extraordinarily American. They are standing up, volunteering to become the leader of our great nation. Whether or not they succeed is up to me – and you. As a new American you get a say at the ballot box in the next presidential election.  

Maria Karlsson is a Manager at Fox News Channel and a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Sweden.