Upon leaving an orphanage while still in Europe, I was taken to the harbor at Bremen, Germany, unaware of why or where I was bound. I stood dumbstruck staring up at the enormous black hull of a ship destined for the United States. Walking alone up the gangplank, I had no luggage or papers — just a yellow tag pinned to my coat.
The winter voyage was excruciating. The ocean was in a constant state of turmoil, and seasickness plagued nearly everyone on board. Finally, on the seventh day, as dawn broke, I stood at the railing and watched the image of the Statue of Liberty slowly emerge from the mist, framed majestically by the skyline of New York in the distance, the peaks of its skyscrapers reflecting the morning sun.
I did not know what the future would bring in this strange land that had so willingly taken me in. In due course, after living in a miserable foster home environment and thanks to the efforts of prayer and the pastor of a Catholic parish, I was adopted. A birth certificate was created for me, and in 1956 I stood before a judge and answered questions about the history and structure of the United States, repeated the Pledge of Allegiance, and became an American citizen.
That day was and still remains the highlight of my life. At last, I was part of something — I was someone. I lived in a country and among people who stood for liberty and freedom and acknowledged that our rights came from God and not man. I was blessed to be a citizen of the United States, the greatest and noblest experiment in the history of mankind.
Yet I now fear for our country, its future, and the nation generations yet unborn will inherit. Today the United States is tearing itself apart over immigration and the size and scope of government.
Among us live at least ten to twelve million illegal aliens. Many came in a desperate quest to secure freedom or economic gain, others to commit crimes and prey on our fellow citizens, and a few determined to sow destruction and terror in the name of religion or ideology. They were able to walk across the border because those we chose to lead us viewed these masses not as individuals, but as pawns in a crass political game.
The Left saw votes to be had by making the illegals another dependent class, just as they had so cynically done with the African-Americans. Many on the Right, at the behest of the business lobby, viewed these same unfortunates as a source of cheap, easily exploited labor. Bowing to the most base of political motives, money and votes, the borders were left open and unsecured.
As with all problems ignored, this one has festered into a crisis — a crisis which has become all the more pronounced as a result of the economic downturn and uncontrolled spending by government at all levels. The State of Arizona, on the front-lines of the rampant crime wave spawned by the drug trade centered in Mexico and the requisite expenditures needed to support the illegal immigrants, has attempted to enforce the federal laws the regime in Washington D.C. refuses to acknowledge.
This has brought to the fore the most disgusting aspects of political discourse in the United States today. In what can only be described as the character trait of lemmings, the media, instead of accurately reporting the facts of the Arizona law and the circumstances that brought it about, opts instead to regurgitate the talking points given them by the Left. They choose to be oblivious to the fact that the Alinskyite agenda includes finding anything (true or false) to demonize their opponents with and with which to exploit the Hispanics as a potential permanent voting bloc.
The professional sports world, academia, and the entertainment industry, not wanting to be left out of the mindless allegiance to political correctness as determined by the Left, have jumped on the bandwagon, calling for boycotts of Arizona. Have all these groups lost their ability to reason or ask questions? Has emotion become a substitute for facts? Do they understand what useful idiots they have become?
There is one tactic, which is beneath contempt, that is constantly used by the Progressive cabal to malign their opponents and shut them up. That is the obligatory reference to anyone who opposes their agenda as Nazis and the use of the Holocaust and World War II as synonyms for political disagreements with their views.
The shadows are lengthening for those who suffered in World War II and lived in its aftermath. There are few left to speak out. So I must do so.
This mindless reference to the Nazis, the Holocaust, and World War II is an insult and denigration to the memory of nearly 70 million people who died in the War and the countless millions who suffered and were displaced. None of you who so glibly throw around these words have the slightest idea of the trauma and the experiences of those who were there.
Your frame of reference is perhaps a faded and grainy yet impersonal black and white film of ashen faces staring into the camera, or of emaciated children begging for food, or of lifeless bodies strewn across a field. To others, it is sitting in a movie theatre for two hours, watching a Hollywood portrayal of the War. In either case, those images are quickly forgotten as you go about your lives. But those of us who lived it do not have that luxury. Our experiences haunt us every hour, day, and night.
We still smell the overpowering stench of death and destruction; we remember the constant search for food and shelter; we did not have the option of thinking of tomorrow. Instead, it was how to live through the day.
Had I not been shot and taken to a military hospital, I never would have survived, let alone been sent to the United States.
The lifeblood of democracy is civil discourse. To those on the Left — and on behalf of all of us, living and dead, who experienced the years of hell — please stop using references to the War to demonize your political opponents. I vehemently disagree with your philosophy and believe it will ultimately destroy the country I love. I say this as a survivor of a war spawned by other adherents of totalitarian philosophies similar to yours. But I wish to have a forthright and respectful discussion with you.
Let the United States have an honest, open, and civil debate, and let the citizens decide the course of the country based on facts and not emotion. Do not continue to cram down the throats of the people laws, regulations, and policies they clearly do not want just because you on the Left are convinced of the superiority of your position.
The illegal immigration problem can be solved. Once the border is certified to be shut down and illegal immigration reduced by 95%, then the American people will be open to a method of permanent legal guest worker status and a difficult but eventual path to citizenship for some. But the present strategy of inciting emotion and retaliation will not solve the problem.