Tuesday, May 02, 2006
What Do You Want
Gimme a label. Gimme a name. Gimme an ethnicity. Gimme what you got. Gimme a place to belong.
I told you that I wasn’t liberal and I told you I wasn’t conservative. Labels have never united people. So am I poor white trash? Am I European American? Am I Irish or am I Scotch? I don’t have a clue.
My father was adopted as a baby and never had any desire to learn his biological heritage. So my history stops with him. I admire and envy all of the immigrants to this country that can trace their heritage back to Montezuma or the Prince of Prussia or Uncle Bert in Poland. These are things that give us a foundation and add to who we are.
I have always wanted to know where I came from or as my father’s adoptive mother used to say “who my people were”. It has been a ripple under the surface of my whole life. An itch I just couldn’t scratch. I will never really know the answer to this question, but I do know where I am now. I am here in the United States of America and I am an American. I am proud and disgusted with that knowledge, simultaneously, and to differing degrees each and every day.
We are a nation of mutts. Pound puppies that some how got pardoned. All of my dogs have come from the Humane Society, because maybe I did too. They all have little quirks that they haven’t been able to overcome. One is timid and un-trusting of strangers. One will still hoard and gobble down every scrap of food in sight. And the third barks all the time, just to show all the neighbor dogs how tough he is. I gave them all a second chance at life and love and acceptance. And if I could ask them, I doubt any one of them would choose their old life over their new one.
Are we so much different? This whole immigration thing has spiraled into a them against us thing, once again. What the hell is wrong with this country?
This debate is not about immigration, it is about illegal immigration. I don’t know where my ancestors came from, but I’m sure it was from somewhere much worse than here. And I also know that I am a citizen now. So whatever hardships they had to endure, I owe an un-payable debt of gratitude to those anonymous family members for giving me that honor.We have immigration laws. Enforce them or change them. If you want to live here, become a citizen, speak the language and abide by the law. Pay your taxes. Send your kids to school. Raise them with love and respect for others. Don’t ask for things that you haven’t earned. Be an American and not just a hyphen. I find it offensive that our government and our work forms always have an area to state our ethnicity. Go crazy and mark other, and in that blank space write American. We are the only place that is made from every place.
Or maybe I'm just simple minded?