Freedom Folks

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Immigration: An Ending and a Beginning

We've been posting about the march and rally supporting ILLEGAL immigration in Chicago today. I've really been thinking about a feeling I had as we were fighting our way out of the crowd of 100,000+. We spent about 40 minutes pushing through half a city block of the throng to make our way to public transportation.

As we finally made it through the shouting, chanting horde, we turned the corner to walk past Berghoff, which sadly shut its doors at the end of last month. For those not familiar with Chicago, Berghoff was a traditional, family-run German restaurant, an institution famous for holding the first liquor license issued by the city after Prohibition ended.

Gazing into the darkened windows of the restaurant, I felt a real sense of something ending and something beginning. Many who disagree with me on the need to fight ILLEGAL immigration often bring up our country's history of immigration and diversity, as if I am somehow maligning them by speaking out against ILLEGAL immigration.

One of the things I love most about Chicago, my favorite city and current home, is the great diversity of its residents and neighborhoods. Berghoff embodied how immigration is supposed to work in my mind. It honored the traditions of its owners' cultural history while celebrating the opportunities and freedoms of America.

That is what I did not see much of in the crowd today, and certainly did not hear from the speakers who egged them on to demand legalization and denounce HR4437. As I listened to Gutierrez and Daley and Blagojevich, I did not hear an enticement to become Americans in any real sense.

What I heard was a call to demand rights and opportunities that have to be earned. These are precious gifts bestowed upon those who are born here, and those who come here legally. They are most certainly not something to be unrightfully demanded or stolen by those who would disrespect this country and its citizens by those who choose to come, stay, and work here ILLEGALLY.

What I saw today was a defiant mission to impose a mass of people, their culture, and their language on another country. There were many claims of loving America, but talk is cheap. It is your actions that truly speak. If anyone loves this country, they will show it by their efforts to make it a better place. Since when do lawlessness, a constant breech of national security, and economic and cultural destruction make this a better place?

I love this country. I embrace and appreciate our melting pot of cultures and traditions. But our country only works when our country and its citizens come first. I would never ask another nation to put the interests of America before their own -- it's ridiculous!

It makes me angry and sad when people come here ILLEGALLY and demand that of America.

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