I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can’t You choose someone else? -Reb Tevye “Fiddler on the Roof”
Belle Harbor, the town I come from, is tiny. I mean really, really small. You can live in New York all of your life and still not know where Belle Harbor is. Its 4 blocks wide at its widest and maybe 20 blocks long, bounded by the Atlantic on the Beach blocks and Jamaica Bay on the other side. Until recently, no one ever knew we existed. Of course now, post 9/11 and AA 587, and Hurricane Sandy, we’re officially on the map…. great…
The base racial makeup of the Rockaways of which Belle Harbor is a neighborhood of, is on the whole a good mixture of Irish, Russian Jews, some Italians, and Blacks. For the most part everyone gets along fine as long as you’re not anywhere near the Animals in Far Rockaway. Yep, I called you guys Animals, thats what you are, and it hasn’t changed a bit.
Sometimes there is a coming together of the mixes and you get a mutt like me. On my mother’s side the Landry’s, you get the Irish and a very minor amount of French. My Dad’s Russian and German by way of Poland for a generation or two. So, I’ve got quite the genetic makeup.
My kids, even more interesting; Add my mix in with my wife’s whose genetic makeup goes back in time countless generations in her village (Schraplau, Germany). Of course Schraplau being on the wrong side of the wall for 40+ years, she’s a reformed Communist, but hell, no one’s perfect!
Notice something missing? I haven’t claimed any American Indian blood, nor do I think there’s any to be had in my family.
Why am I pointing this out?
Well, I’m frustrated! I don’t like what’s going on in the US right now in relation to immigration. I’ve had it with people claiming that there is no more room for immigration and more to the point, “we don’t like your kind”.
With the exception of the Indians, none of us were here first. Some were here earlier than others but lets face it, you’re probably not in that group. I’m damn sure not.
My ancestors are German and Russian Jews and the Irish. Are there Kleiman’s left in Poland, Germany, or Russia? Probably not. Why? I would hope that you know already, but lets say Pogroms, Hitler, and other really bad shit. The Irish side? Been invaded and held hostage by the British for hundreds of years. Ok, they’re not all that bad now, but still….
Where did they all go? America. Not the idealized bullshit of Neal Diamond’s crapfest “We’re coming to America” no, the “I hate everyone that isn’t me” America that existed back in the 18 and 1900’s. Yep thats right, the nation of immigrants, founded by immigrants, and populated by immigrants “the world’s melting pot” guess what? They fucking hated immigrants!
You know what? I do too.
I don’t like their customs. I don’t like the way the speak. I don’t like that they refuse to integrate into my society. I just don’t like them.
But. I’m not a hypocrite, just a xenophobic racist. I know that a hundred years ago some other xenophobic racist asshole was saying the same shit about my family.
What was different about that time was, while they weren’t accepted initially, for the most part they were let in. Nowadays, we’ve got a lottery to get in….. Yes, we’re so American we’ve made it a game of chance to get into our country now! Ain’t we a proud bunch!
Where I get into difficulty, where I get frustrated, where I just fail to understand is: How can we be so damn critical of other nations and claim we’re “home of the free and the brave” and then have the very nerve to say to these people “Sorry, freedom is just for us, can’t have any, not urs!”
We are a nation capable of greatness and for a time we were, and we can be again. We struggle with so many different and conflicting ideas that no other nation has ever had to even glance at. China is overtaking us? whoop dee doo they’re Commies, of course they’re overtaking us! They can throw the entire resources of their nation at their economy AT GUN POINT and make that shit happen! They’re also burning up their children and environment in the process. Brazil is a major economy now, good for them! Don’t hear a lot of people saying I’m gonna save up all my money and move my family over to Brazil because its so great there! Lots of land and un-polluted cities to live in….Yeah right, Rio is like NYC of the 70’s: too many people and its filthy, my Stepmonster is from Brazil…..she’s in no rush to ever, I mean EVER go back. Hell no, they’re still coming here (or at least trying to) in droves. South Florida is full of them. West Boca where I live now is full of store signs in Portuguese. Annoys the shit outa me, but I won’t kick ’em out.
We struggle with morality, laws, religion, non religion, who should get married to whom, when… Its the American way. But, we should never ever lose our compass and say freedom is for a chosen, specific few. To do so is shallow and makes us no better than the very countries that we have ridiculed (or invaded) in the past.