Paul Elisha: Beneath A Boundless Heaven
From the time of its purported discovery, this land’s status as a welcome destination for immigrants has been clouded in controversy. Its discovery, so-called, was preceded by a century and a half of episodic probes by Norsemen, in open boats, who leap-frog-ed down the Greenland coast leaving outposts of free-spirited Vikings, to warrant what their curiosity had found but their ancestral natures had left un-peopled.
To be totally honest, while the purported discoverer was Italian, he’d acted in behalf of Spanish monarchs who hoped for a new route to the Orient and while his exploit was prodigious, it was equaled by others, using a more southerly route; Hispanic seekers, like Pizzarro and Ponce de Leon, who believed he’d found the Fountain of Youth, in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. To be truly correct, in 1492, Italy was still a Jig-Saw puzzle of pieces, waiting to be stitched together as a nation; their worthier bragging rights still to be won by the future achievements of other outstanding Italians, like Inventor GuglielmoMarconi, with his life-saving short-wave radio and later, an endless stream of creators and performers in every art form but also defenders of freedom, like conductor Arturo Toscanini and writer/director Frank Capra, with films like “You Can’t Take It With You” and “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” then, in WWII, as a U.S. Signal Corps Major, making vivid film vehicles, like “Why We Fight!”
Those who’d short-sell Hispanics, on how many were here first, ignore the record. Our nation’s southern coasts and southwestern states were once rife with communities, Peopled by Hispanic settlers. They were ousted by purchase, fiat and force, to expand nearby U.S. areas for non-Hispanic settlers. The precursors are sadly recalled by the many still unchanged signposts that had once identified them. Despite many barriers set up to discourage their return, some have plied a painful yet persistent route to drudge-like labor in sub-rosa jobs, as non-citizens, open to every inhumanity this condition invites. A painful result of this are the children of Hispanic parents who worked illegally in this country but had to leave them here, in limbo, when they were deported and forced to return to Mexico. Many of these youngsters have attended our schools and then found work. Some enlisted in our Armed Forces. All are now threatened with deportation, if our President and Congress don’t act to give them status as citizens- (pro-tem). But this, too, is now in serious doubt, opposed by grudging grumps who’ve inherited fruits of freedom by birth and now, simply overlook the fact that except for Native American tribes, from whom this land was usurped, all its later citizens were immigrants or their descendants. ‘Have-gots’ who think it’s not enough, refuse to share this land of opportunity with anyone and their fear hides a reminder that past efforts by inventive émigrés has unleashed economic assets for all. It’s time we re-affirmed a truth that’s let millions of foreign seekers, who call a Divinity by many names, in many languages, unite for common good and a happier survival. We can, by demonstrating, that beneath a boundless heaven, there’s enough room for all of us.
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