Wednesday, July 4, 2018

"Patriots Day"

Immigrants are the only people who gave something up to live in this country.

Family.  Friends.  Familiarity.

And those are just the “F’s.”

American newborns, they come out – they’re Americans.  

“No charge.  Enjoy the fruited plains.”

And for them, that’s all there is to it.  No muss. No fuss.  No long applications and extended waiting periods.  No tearful goodbyes.  No get on the plane and “Here goes nothing.”

Who do you think appreciates this place more?  I’ll give you a hint.  It’s not someone who’s never known anything else

Who do you think is more grateful?  I’ll help you again – it’s a holiday.  It’s not the person who sacrificed nothing to be here.

The personal attributes migration requires are dauntingly formidable.  Consider what ”Go” demands of you that “Stay” does not.  Think about that.  Could you do it?

“Go” involves action. It involves resolve.  It involves courage.  It involves imagination.  It involves loneliness.  It involves grit.  

By the way, does that sound like “the worst people their country of origin has to offer”?  Or more “Happy to have you.  Have a hot dog.”

I say we’re lucky to have them.  Wait.  I’man immigrant.  Make that “They’re lucky to have us.”

Okay, it was just Canada, but even so, changing countries was not easy.  And I had a few bucks in my pocket and could speak English.  Imagine showing up here with neither advantage.  It’s unfathomable.  If your immigrant grandparents are still around, ask them about that.   

And while you’re at it, tell them they’re heroes.

A more typical immigrant example than mine is our (happily retired) housekeeper Connie, who made our home a glistening palace and our relationship a joy.  

Connie’s remarkable son, Ronald – first generation American – teaches high school history in a challenging neighborhood.  During a recent election, he ran for the L.A. School Board and, with little money and even less “name recognition”, made an admirable showing at the polls.  

Just one generation, and his hat’s in the ring.

There’s a word for people like him in the healthy advancement of our democracy.


You know what?  

All us immigrants know something – or more ethereally – feelsomething natural-born Americans can not.  How shall I put this without listing the boring – though greatly appreciated – opportunities and advantages.


I knew a guy once who, from birth, had no discernible sense of smell.

That’s the people who were born in this country.

With no geographical “Point of Comparison” they are unable to smell the distinction.  

I feel sorry for those people.  But what can you do?

Not everyone’s lucky enough to be born somewhere else.

Happy Fourth of July to everyone.

To all our patriotic immigrants – recent and otherwise.

And to the homegrown Americans who, although patriots, never paid for a ticket and can’t experience what we can.


JED said...

As a guy who was lucky enough to be born here and got the easy way to citizenship, I have to say I appreciated your post today. And I'm glad you got your comments fixed, too, so I could say this. So, you've also done your part to promote freedom of speech.

It's funny, before you fixed the comments feature, I almost sent you an email (after you showed the address in a post a few days ago) but somehow I worried that I'd be bothering you. Isn't that silly?

cjdahl60 said...

Great post. I was also born here and I appreciate your perspective as an immigrant. I've forwarded on a link to your post to a number of people as you've been able to put into words what I have always felt but could not express as eloquently.