No, not psychopaths — I mean politics. Yeah, I know it’s a taboo topic in polite company and might rankle some of my readers. But what are we to do if we can’t have civil conversations about matters of importance?
I can’t say I know a heck of a lot about immigration issues. I was blessed by being born in the United States, as much as we Americans have done wrong. I am working toward getting dual Italian-American citizenship simply by virtue of the fact that my grandfather was an Italian citizen who was never naturalized in the United States and signed an alien registration form on the eve of World War II. I also know a little bit about what it was like to be able to reside legally in the United Kingdom and receive totally free health care under the National Health Service (NHS) solely on the basis of my spousal visa. Once I submitted my application for a spousal visa, it took less than 2 weeks for it to be processed and approved.
What I do know is my American history. We of European descent came to the Americas and wiped out whole civilizations of Native Americans. And if that wasn’t enough, we imported slaves from Africa, and they certainly weren’t “documented,” except as property. Meanwhile, we meddle in the affairs of other countries and tell them how to conduct their business. This doesn’t mean we are all “bad.” Our ideals were enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and in our Constitution, and we may be slow in living up to those ideals, but they are there as a dream and as a goal.
With the Republican legislators doing everything possible to impede immigration reform, and every other thing that Obama proposes, I was looking forward to our president’s speech tonight. Neil Armstrong didn’t see any national boundaries when he stepped foot on the moon, so why do we? Why wouldn’t poverty-stricken people from economically devastated and war-torn counties want to come to our golden land for a better life? Isn’t that what many of our grandparents and great-grandparents and those before them did?
So I was not disappointed in Mr. Obama’s speech to the nation tonight; it made me proud to be American. He’s issued far fewer executive orders than prior presidents, including George W. Bush. Any executive order he signs can easily be overturned by the do-nothing Republican Congress. They don’t want reform; they want to obstruct. But the most moving part of what Obama had to say was about Astrid Silva. Her story is now exploding on the web, but here is a short must-read article from the Washington Post:
“I didn’t think it was me because everyone was clapping,” said Silva, quaking with emotion after the speech. It wasn’t until a colleague whispered to her, “He said your name,” that she knew Obama was talking about her.
The 26-year-old then started crying on the shoulder of her father, who was standing next to her, watching the speech here at the Hermandad Mexicana Nacional community center.
Silva was born in Mexico and came to the United States with her parents at age 4.
Silva said her father was scammed by someone claiming to be an immigration lawyer who would take care of his paperwork. He didn’t, and her father never realized he had an order of deportation against him until it was served.
Some years ago, I had remodeling work done on my home. The contractor was your standard white-heterosexual-male, and his workers were all Latino, and undoubtedly “undocumented.” Under the contractor’s direction, a primer was not put under the main coat of paint that was done inside my house. At the time of the remodeling, I was also considering having the outside of the house painted, and I had a conversation with one of the Peruvian workers. I even chatted with him, sharing one of the few works I knew in Spanish — “perro” = “dog.”
The Peruvian worker, again doubtlessly undocumented, told me that he and his friends could paint the outside of my house for a much cheaper price, and not do the shoddy work the contractor demanded to save himself money. I didn’t have enough savings left to have the work done, but the conversation stuck in my mind. An honest man willing to do honest work with skilled craftsmanship for minimal pay. Imagine that!
So I don’t know all the ins-and-outs of immigration, but I do know the current system tears kind and good people from their families and deprives them from the hopes and dreams we’ve enjoyed. Yes, I’m proud to be American now that our president has kept the promise he was elected on, as much as he is allowed within his executive powers.
If you disagree, that’s your prerogative since Freedom of Speech is also enshrined in our Constitution. Me, I think we are one step closer to a “more Perfect Union.” Please don’t stop reading my blog if our opinions differ; I’m sure we can agree on much, and if not, we can learn from each other. I won’t write on politics too much, but this one I had to do.
We were on the eve of war with Italy in 1940, and my grandfather registered as an alien, citizen of an enemy country. He wasn’t deported. If he’d been deported, I wouldn’t be here to write this blog post.
I remember well, the day George W. Bush left the White House in the helicopter at the end of his presidency, and the crowd spontaneously sang, “Na Na Na, Hey, Hey, Goodbye.” If I haven’t offended you yet, and you need a good laugh, this is a must see:
If there are any FTM or transmasculine-identified folks out there who have stumbled across my blog, are on Facebook, and if you have been a victim of domestic violence, rape, or abuse, and if you are seeking support from survivors who’ve been there, please go to my “About” link and shoot me an email. I’ll tell you how to find a supportive resource. For starters, you can go to the Trans-Masculine Abuse Project page, but we have a secret group where you can seek peer support and be assured that your privacy is respected.
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