"FATHER'S DAY 2012"
I realize I'm going to catch a lot of flak for agreeing with President Obama's latest venture into solving the illegal immigration situation.
I lost my father over two years ago, and as some that remember him know, I had actually lost him a few years earlier due to dementia.
I always asked his advice, and yes,… you’re right, many times I wish I had taken it.
My father raised me to not dislike people, let alone hate them, due to race, nationality or religion.
Having said the above, I could not understand how angry I seemed to be with illegal immigrants. Was it that advocate Veronica Dahlberg had children parade through Painesville with the Mexican flag front and center with small children dragging our American flag on the ground? Bringing speakers to our town and announcing that we (Hispanics) will take our land back! Maybe it was friends that have suffered from identity theft as well as some Mexican people telling me I needed them. Maybe it was the feeling that all of this was being shoved down my throat.
I have learned at an old age to ask God, my Heavenly father, for advice through prayer. I asked him to help me rid myself of this anger and answer me whether my fears were justified.
I believe my prayers were answered. I was driving through Painesville one day and had to stop at a traffic light. As I gazed around, I spotted three young Hispanic boys playing on their front steps. It dawned on me that these three young boys could have been my two uncles and my father on their porch close to eighty years ago. I wondered if they were all legal residents or if just one of them was. See… my two uncles were born in Italy and my father was born in America a short time after the family arrived. Although my uncles had come here legally, they always presented themselves as American citizens first with Italian heritage second. Then… more than twenty years later… my father fought in WWII against the same country his family had immigrated from. Why? Because he was an American. Until that day at the stop light, I hadn't even given it much thought. I also knew my two uncles would have given up their Italian citizenship in a heartbeat.
Later that month I was asked by a Maple Elementary School third grade class what it was like growing up in Painesville when I was in the third grade . I spoke with Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic children. I didn't know what to expect from the Hispanic third grader. Did he speak/understand English? Would he call me Senor? No, when I shut my eyes and listened, I could not distinguish between any of them. As I spoke to one particular third grade Hispanic boy, for some strange reason a thought entered my mind. "Ang, do you realize in ten years you and the rest of America might have to ask this child to lay his life down to protect all that is the United States? I wonder if he will think back how I treated him when he was a child.” I don't have any idea where that thought came from… only that it made me think about what I was for or against.
Do I believe in unlimited amnesty? NO. Should English be the official language of the United States? Yes, even if we have to amend the United States Constitution. Should the borders be closed and controlled? Yes. Do I believe in the sovereign right of the United States? Yes. Do I believe in treating people (including young children) with respect? Yes. Should I go back to what my father taught me and judge everyone as an individual? Yes.
I believe it breaks down to a simple fact… to reach any goal successfully you have to have a starting point. President Obama has given us that starting point… now it's up to us to find the most effective plan and solution to this problem. If you have read any American history you know this is not the hardest thing (by far) we have ever had to deal with.
None of us is perfect and we are all the sum of our experiences in life. That does not mean that we ever reach a point where we are done trying to live up to the expectations of our parents and our country. Thank you Dad, for still being able to reach out to me and for the example you left for me to follow.