a world gone mad on the eve of the 241st july 4th

In honor of July 4th approaching, I am choosing this photo. It belongs to my friend Barry who is a true patriot in the purest sense of the word. I rode in this balloon over Chester County on the 10th anniversary of 9/11

We live in a world gone mad. We are on the eve of July 4th, the 241st edition since 1776.  On July 4th, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was approved.  Originally supposed to have been approved on July 2nd, and John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail at the time:

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

 

These men (and women) they fought, and bled, and died for our right to be free.  They fought, and bled, and died for US, as is all of us in the USA.  And where are we exactly 241 years later? Riding the crazy train of hatred and vile political rhetoric and vitriol.

The most patriotic man, ladies and gentlemen, is sometimes the man who goes in the direction that he thinks right even when he sees half the world against him. It is the dictate of patriotism to sacrifice yourself if you think that that is the path of honor and of duty. Do not blame others if they do not agree with you. Do not die with bitterness in your heart because you did not convince the rest of the world, but die happy because you believe that you tried to serve your country by not selling your soul. Those were grim days, the days of 1776. Those gentlemen did not attach their names to the Declaration of Independence on this table expecting a holiday on the next day, and that 4th of July was not itself a holiday. They attached their signatures to that significant document knowing that if they failed it was certain that every one of them would hang for the failure. They were committing treason in the interest of the liberty of 3,000,000 people in America. All the rest of the world was against them and smiled with cynical incredulity at the audacious undertaking. Do you think that if they could see this great Nation now they would regret anything that they then did to draw the gaze of a hostile world upon them? Every idea must be started by somebody, and it is a lonely thing to start anything. Yet if it is in you, you must start it if you have a man’s blood in you and if you love the country that you profess to be working for. ~Woodrow Wilson, Presidential Address at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1914 July 4th

We used to be a country that reveled in our freedoms.  We used to be a country that celebrated the individual – and today if we are not the same Stepford carbon copy of what it is decreed somehow, we are reviled?

We have turned into a country where a good young man was arrested as he was in the middle of  taking steps to correct his citizenship status that was messed up years ago when he came to the US for refuge from persecution.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883)

We have turned into a country where young mothers from Chester County like Anna Maciejewska disappear into thin air.  She is still missing.  She came to the United States for a better life.  What has happened to her? Does anyone really believe she would leave her precious child? I don’t think she would, and I don’t know her at all.

We have turned into a country where a young girl on the verge of the rest of her life and a very bright future was shot dead on a Chester County road like she was an old beer bottle for target practice. Bianca Nikol Roberson was 18 years old.

I found out yesterday Bianca Nikol Roberson’s parents are friends of a very dear friend of mine, which once again proves the narrow threads that connect us all to one and other.  Bianca will never have her bright future she worked so hard in high school to attain.  She will never fall in love or get married or have her own family.  (Police released a sketch of her assailant.)

We live in a world where people are trying to politicize the Hate Has No Home Here signs into something ugly.

What I have heard: in Lower Merion Township some conservatives there have taken the position that the signs are hate signs against Republicans. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? I know Republicans, Democrats, and Independents ALL over (including on the Main Line) who have CHOSEN to have a sign, or a bumper sticker or whatever.

Hate Has No Home is NOT about hate. That is nonsensical. And offensive. It is a personal choice to display one’s wish for a better U.S.A.  If people can display Love Lives Here signs, why not Hate Has No Home Signs?

I find the premise of a sign promoting peace to be about hate utterly ABSURD. It is just part and parcel of the bobble headed rhetoric tearing the U.S. apart on a daily basis. (I have heard as a result of this that Better Angels will possibly be touching down on the Main Line soon as a result to mediate a dialogue we should be grown up enough to have, but apparently aren’t.)

Hate has no home ANYWHERE. The movement was started by young school children. Are we a country that now will squash independent thinking, free speech, creativity?

We are a nation born of immigrants.  We are a nation born of those escaping religious, political, and social persecution.  Yet today, the values that formed us as a country, here in the very cradle of liberty we live in, are under siege.

That has to stop.  We are destroying what makes us unique as Americans.  Extremism has all but destroyed our political system, and now it threatens even the very sociological structure of our country.

In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

We need to stop being a country of sheeple.  We need to embrace once again what makes us unique as Americans.  We need to celebrate our diversity, our multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi- religious selves.  We were not designed as humans to be identical.

In order to preserve, to truly preserve and rebuild what being an American really is about, we need to get back to basics.  We need to remember our country’s very history and learn to tolerate the differences in people again.  It is unrealistic that we will ever actually love every one we come in contact with, but surely we can relearn the all-American values of tolerance and respect?

We are a people in search of balance in every sense of the word. Become part of the change, not part of the problem.  Leave the hate out with the trash on the curb. As a collective people we need to free ourselves from the chains of hatred, and remember the great gifts our Founding Fathers bestowed upon us.

Where liberty dwells, there is my country. ~Benjamin Franklin

whose america are we living in?

When you see photos like this they just make you happy. Obviously in love, on their wedding day, their whole lives ahead of them. Until ICE (immigration) shows up like modern day Nazis at the Septa train station in Haverford and arrests the husband.

I used to live in Haverford.  I used to work near Haverford Train Station.  I grew up in Haverford.  I just can’t imagine the terror this man felt.  I learned about his plight when a friend posted on Facebook:

 

I thought this possibly couldn’t be true, then I remember conversations I have had with people even locally in Chester County about ICE going into schools, ICE raiding restaurants and other businesses country and city, ICE rounding people up off the streets and throwing them into vans, asking for papers at SEPTA stops in Philadelphia (a supposed “sanctuary city”), tales of immigrants with “go” bags packed by their front doors in case they have to run, and does this seem crazy that we are living in a country that allows this?

We are a nation formed of immigrants.  Give us your tired, your hungry, your poor.  I have friends who emigrated to this country.  I thank God that all of them are legal citizens.

Jonatan Palacios is his name.  His lovely wife Lillie Williams has a You Caring Page up. I don’t know them personally, but what is being done to them is a crazy horror show at the hands of the US Government.

I am going to let HER words tell THEIR story.  Lillie pardon me for copying and pasting your message, but your words have power:

The Story

My name is Lillie Williams and early yesterday morning, on May 11th, immigration ripped me away from my husband. 

We are working with a lawyer to get him out and get him back home to me as soon as possible, but we need help covering all of the expenses, fees, and loss of income as we work to do everything I can to get Jonatan out and back to his home and family.

Why did we get caught in this mess? Because we were going through proper legal motions. We submitted an I-130 spousal petition for him in October. We were working with the system to correct his legal status from his case when he entered as an unaccompanied minor at the age of 16. 

Jonatan is my best friend and soulmate. I appreciate any help and support that you can provide to help us through this difficult time. 

Background:

Jonatan and I had went on our first date the summer before my Junior year at Bryn Mawr College, on May 24th, 2010.

My roommate at the time had been dating Jonatan’s older brother for about a year before we started dating. Always thinking herself the matchmaker, she had made several attempts at getting Jonatan and I together before it finally happened. The final straw that brought the two of us together was a mishap one night, where my roommate had accidentally locked me out of the apartment in my pajamas when she was late to a date with Jonatan’s brother. I called my forgetful Italian friend to please turn around and let me back in, but instead she sent Jonatan to my rescue. He then had my number and asked if he could keep it.We started dating only a few months later and it was as if there was a magnetic force that brought us together. We were inseparable. Then, several hard events in my life happened which brought us even closer together. We both became each other’s home.

We were legally married at one one of our favorite restaurants in Philadelphia, Amada on October 11th, 2014 and a year later we had our religious wedding ceremony with friends and family at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens on October 15th, 2015. 

The pastor from Jonatan’s church officiated with the service in Spanish and translated into English so that everyone there would understand. It was one of the happiest evenings of our lives.

When we were getting ready to get married, I learned about Jonatan’s case. I thought that it was something that we would be able to resolve with marriage– since I am a born United States Citizen and my ancestry goes back in the United States to colonial days I thought it would be a simple case of petitioning for him once we were married. I found out after that the case was a lot more complicated than either of us had thought.

It turns out that people don’t become citizens simply through marriage to a US Citizen Spouse. It is a long and difficult process and sometimes, if you are unlucky, things can go wrong with your case. 

More About the Issue:

If you would like to know more about the overall issue, there is a whole organization of families like mine that have gone through or are going through similar issues, American Families United. You can learn more by going to http://www.americanfamiliesunited.org/.

 

This is so unreal.  Their crime was being naïve and thinking they could trust the United States of America. They filed what they thought was the correct paperwork and instead of help, he gets arrested at the Septa station in Haverford with assistance by Lower Merion Police Department.  Ok, so let’s be fair, I am guessing Lower Merion Police Department did not have much choice in the matter when the Federal Government comes calling, but can you imagine the abject terror he must have felt along with anyone else who was around there on May 11th?

Ok so those of you who are die hard conservatives are getting ready to sharpen your keyboards and read me the riot act for this post, but please.

Don’t.

Stop and think about this for a moment.  This young couple were trying to right a wrong. They were not trying to be deceitful.  Now this guy is sitting in some jail facility in York, PA and do we even know if he has been able to see his wife? Or other family?  They were not hiding and they were punished anyway.

For every one of these stories I hear, the mental image of World War II come to mind.  The stories of Holocaust survivors and immigrants of another century telling the stories of Nazis demanding papers during World War II era Europe.  Tell me, how is this different? Because it is happening under the banner of the United States of America?

What is it that is carved on Lady Liberty? What is the exact figure of immigrants who came through Ellis Island and passed the Statue of Liberty between 1820 and 1920? 34 Million? This is the poem Lady Liberty wears:

“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“”Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!”” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

There is a vigil planned for Jonatan Palacios on June 8th.  There is a Facebook event set up

If you care to contribute to the young couple’s legal expenses (immigration lawyers are not cheap), please visit You Caring Help Jonatan Palacios be reunited with his wife and family!

I am the descendant of immigrants.  I am descended from three nationalities which were once discriminated against and disparaged against – Irish, German, Italian.  I grew up with many tales including “Irish need not apply” and WOP jokes and disparaging German comments . I fear for my legal US citizen friends who emigrated here because some still have the lingering traces of the countries they were born in.  What could be done to them in error because they don’t have your typical American accent?

Whether you know this couple or not, if you can peacefully or peaceably help, help.  Attend the vigil, write elected officials (including all 14 commissioners in Lower Merion Township to ask WTF??,  essentially.)

Whose America is this? Whose America are we living in?  I am not sure  and I am so sad at this latest turn of events.