we were free. In the nineteenth century, it may not have looked like freedom,
but it was. Every picture of grinding poverty and over-crowded tenements, every
starving child and abused woman is a portrait of freedom. During the 1800s America
was the freest country on earth that is why people from every country in the
world came here. When you see the pictures of the poor and downtrodden realize
that they are there by choice. In some cases, they didn’t know they had a
choice, but the choice existed even so.
When our ancestors left their homes in
and Asia, and Africa and all the other
places immigrants came to America,
they did not come to live lives worse than those they left. Few who came
though, were ready for what they encountered when they arrived. How could
Chinese peasants fresh off the boat articulate what they desired, they had
never experienced freedom, they had never lived anywhere where they weren’t
property. The Irish in New York, with a desire to be their own masters still
carried the burden of the Manor with them, how can you chose freedom without
knowing it is an option. On those unlucky few the unscrupulous preyed, pushing
them into jobs that barely allowed them food, providing loans at unsustainable
rates to force them back into the poverty they had left, crowding them into
filthy, dank slums, fit only for the rats and Cholera.
But some, the rebels and misfits, those unsavory types that never fit there in the posh and pampered cities of the old world, for them
was wonderland. When the boats landed on the shores of America
a vast majority of the immigrants sunk back to the level they thought they were
leaving behind, never realizing that they carried their poverty with them. They
were not poor for lack; no, they were poor in spirit. They would survive in the
gutter like rats, always hoping someone would come to lift them out, to give
them a place in the sun. Generations later, some of those very immigrants are
still there, and now they have found people to prop them up, but for them and
the generations before them America
will never be the beacon it was to the misfit.
The misfits, they drove across this country taming land that ran wild, and they died by the score littering the prairies with their artifacts and bones. Nevertheless, more followed, more escaped the stifling cities and poisoned air of the old World to breathe free, to live, to die, to succeed, or fail. Nothing has ever called so strongly to the human spirit than Freedom. Now years later we must again decide what calls to us, do we wait mewling in the gutter for scraps thrown to us by our betters, or do we stand and take what is rightfully ours as Americans, as the children of those misfit immigrants, who didn’t, who couldn’t fit in the mold that their society constrained them to.
The choice as always is yours; the future won’t wait…