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Immigrant Daughter

By       Message E. T. SIMON     Permalink
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I am an immigrant in my mother's country of birth. She was an immigrant in my country of birth. She married my father who was studying law at Tulane University and immigrated with him to my country of birth when, upon completion of his degree, he returned to his native country. She always retained her American citizenship. My mother's great-grandfather was born September 13, 1789. He died August 11, 1817. He is Brigadier General Andrew Pickens. Named Skyagunsta-Wizard Owl-- by the Creeks and Cherokees, in deference to, "the wise counsel and sense of justice he exhibited in all his dealings with and in behalf of ... them." He was the son of immigrants to this country, who, in turn, were the children of immigrants from another country whose parents, themselves, had emigrated from yet another country. In her book, "The Fighting Elder Andrew Pickens 1739-1817" , Alice Noble Waring, notes that,
Pickens' grandfather, William, was the first of the family to arrive in America. Probably after the fall of Limerick, William and his wife Margaret left Ireland and sailed to Philadelphia, where they joined a group of Germans and moved on to the western frontier of Pennsylvania. Some decades earlier, their forebears, Robert Pickens and his wife Ester Jane Bonneau, had fled from France after Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 to Scotland and from there they had gone to Ireland.
It seems that immigration and the quest for political justice and freedom runs deep through my family's veins-we are (I come from) an entire line of people, through entire generations, different centuries, several countries, and various nations who are connected to each other by blood and by the emotional journey of immigration and search for political freedom, religious tolerance, and political refuge. It is a history of separation from loved family members, from a beloved mother or father land in search for the hope of personal freedom in yet another land. There were no immigration laws here, then, when William Pickens and his wife Margaret stepped on the shores of this country ... which, "for much of its history ... allowed unrestricted immigration..." There was no CNN out there, then. There was no, LOU DOBBS This Week, spewing out the poisonous gas of fear and hate against immigrants known then as Pioneers; today as immigrants. Or against the Catholic Church, Cardinal Mahoney, Bishop Jaime Ortega or the spirit of Lent as Lou Dobbs just did this past week. Back then there was the Indian who is today known as the Native American, and who initially received the immigrants, those men and women known to history as Pioneers who, like William and Margaret arrived to these shores from distant lands, with an open heart and a welcoming hand until they felt threatened by the very Pioneers who wanted to take possession of their lands and dispossess them of their rights.. It was then that they then began to fight the Pioneers for the right to retain their lands. Nonetheless, the Pioneers ran the Native American off of his lands, further into the wilderness, and dispossessed him of many of his rights. They made second class citizens out of the first citizens of these lands: the Native Americans. In these lands known today as the United States of America, and because of far better weapons, it was the Pioneer, the White Anglo Saxon Protestant, who prevailed over the Indian. How sad that we are, a nation of immigrants which turned against the native people of the land, running them into pens and into the wilderness, a nation which today turns against the immigrants who come in search of the same promised land that our ancestors came looking for. How ironic that so many of us are railing against them. Is it that our fear comes from a deep, buried sense of guilt over what we did to the Native American-the Indian? Perhaps, are we afraid that the new immigrants (or their numbers) will do to us what we did to the Native American: turn us into second class citizens? How sad also, that today, night after night, Lou Dobbs, dresses himself in the cloak of righteousness and from the chair of his smoke stack, spews out to the airwaves the hot air of fear and hate which permeates the country against today's immigrant-most especially against those immigrants who come from South of the Border and who have a brown skin, very little education and no professional training. How sad that night after night there is one, two, or three more hearts who begin to look at the immigrant through the eyes of hate and fear as planted in the nation by Lou Dobbs and the Lou Dobbs like mentality. How sad that we are beginning to see the hearts and eyes of a nation which, fed by the likes of Lou Dobbs looks, fearfully and resentfully, at the new comers as illustrated by the recent words of a neighbor who said, "it is not that they are criminals like some make them out to be. It is that they are so different from what we all are." We, some of us, are frightened by differences that we don't understand. How sad that Lou Dobbs ... needs to advance his cause by railing against Cardinal Mahoney, by spinning and reframing the Cardinal's exhortation for support of today's immigrant, into a mangling of the Cardinal and of the spirit of Lent, which is Love-to the point of Christ having offered Himself as a Sacrificial Lamb, into Dobbs' ...
"The Catholic Church can't resist temptation even during Lent. The temptation to be involved in secular politic and illegal immigration crisis and border security..."
How sad that Lou Dobbs is unaware that the spirit of Lent is LOVE which is the spirit of transformation and the beginning of a Journey ... an EXODUS ... from the land of sin into the land of Love and Forgiveness. How sad that Lou Dobbs does not know that the spirit of Lent is a Giving one rather than one of fear planting, hate mongering, and self serving righteousness... Lent is a journey that offers an exodus from the land of greed and exploitation into the land of freedom and justice... a journey which offers us a path away from our own selfishness and greed. How sad that night after night Lou Dobbs needs to crucify the immigrants, or Cardinal Mahoney, or Bishop Jaime Ortega, or anyone who stands up for them. How sad that he needs to call these immigrants, "criminals". These new immigrants whose skin may not be completely white, whose education may be lacking in terms of schooling and/or manners but who possess skills that translate into jobs or who simply possess raw physical strength which they employ in menial tasks like fruit picking; men and women who are pushed to leave their nation in search of economic or political survival because they are exploited in their own countries, by their corrupt (right wing leaning or United States installed) governments who allow our own corporations who outsource jobs to the immigrants' countries of origin, to hire them for pennies a day in order to save oodles of dollars in salaries, health care, and taxes. How insightful indeed of Cardinal Mahoney when he says of the immigrants, "they are innocents impacted by an unjust system that has failed and will continue to fail them and our society society until true comprehensive reform is passed by Congress and the president." What an inflammatory, flame throwing point of view spewing out of Lou Dobbs' mouth when he says, "Well, the good Cardinal Mahoney is at it again. A pious man, I'm sure, but his heart obviously rests with those who violate American borders and laws and not with law abiding citizens of this great nation ..." Or, when he says of Cardinal Mahoney and Bishop Jaime Soto, "But these two Catholic leaders in southern California apparently think sacrifice should be born by all American citizens of every and no faith." ... This reframing by Lou Dobbs of the Cardinal's and the Bishop's humane stand for immigration reform into, " but his heart obviously rests with those who violate American borders and laws and not with law abiding citizens of this great nation ..." is, o, so painfully similar to, "you are either with us or you are against us!" Same message. Same fear planting. Same spin. Same lie. How inflammatory of him, also, when he reframes and equates Mahoney's compassionate appeal for comprehensive immigration reform to ... "all of us giving up our national sovereignty for Lent." Really Lou? I mean, Really? Does the Cardinal's appeal to his congregation to ask Congress, "for comprehensive immigration reform", really frighten you that much that you need to stoke the flames of anti-immigration by reframing the Cardinal's argument and equating it to "all of us giving up our national sovereignty for Lent?" Just how on earth would we be giving up our national sovereignty if we support immigrants? Is the Cardinal calling for us to surrender to some foreign power-to concede territory to them? I don't think so Isn't Bush's borrowing of moneys from foreign governments in order to finance his deficit and his occupation of Iraq more of a threat to our national sovereignty than the Cardinal's appeal to his parishioners in support of immigrants? Doesn't Bush threaten our national sovereignty a heck of a lot more? I think so. True. Land is not as plentiful today as it was in the days of the Pilgrims and some of us live in crunched up spaces and not so white neighborhoods anymore... True. Jobs are not as plentiful today as they were in the recent past and, with the growing gulf between the rich and poor in this country, with fewer people being able to access a college education and with so many jobs being outsourced, we are becoming a nation of blue collar workers. True, comfortable white collar jobs such as yours may be becoming extinct or rare to obtain-and that might be where you see the threat to our national sovereignty but it is not the immigrants who carry the blame for that. I blame the Bush administration for the growing gulf between the rich and the poor in this country, for funding cuts to college loans and the rising cost of a college education which only the very rich can afford. I blame the Bush administration and the greedy Republicans for cuts to many services needed by a great many people in this country from healthcare, to education, to tax cuts for the rich... True our National Treasury in dwindling. But, the Bush tax cut for the super rich and his use of our tax dollars to finance his immoral and illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq is to blame. Not the immigrants that you so smear and fear. Believe it or not, immigrants do pay taxes and contribute to our social security system. Believe it, or not, Lou ... the immigrants that you so smear and fear contribute to our society much more than they ever take away. You simply looked for someone to scapegoat and you found your scapegoat in the immigrant. How very sad.

 

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E.T.SIMON ... Keeping the Bio Real and Transparent ... E. T. SIMON is more often like a transplanted palm tree from the land of Santiago de Cuba where she was born to a Cuban, Tulane University, lawyer educated father and, a Mississippi, mother, (more...)
 

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