America, A Nation Of Immigrants Or A Nation Of Wimps?

By: Guest Authors

By: Andrew Lawrence

History shows that America is a nation of immigrants. Unless you or your ancestors are Native American, if you live in America you or your ancestors are immigrants.

Immigrants are not wimps. My grandparents were immigrants. My grandparents came to America from Russia, from a city near the border with Poland, prior to World War I. They came to America to escape German occupation, religious persecution, and death.

My grandparents, Harry and Anna, landed at Ellis Island in New York. They spoke no English. They had no education. They had no money. They were among the poor, the tired, the huddled masses, yearning to be free. They came to America with only the clothes on their backs. They did not care, they were coming to America. They traveled by ship thousands of miles across the seas to America for one reason: freedom.

My grandparents, Harry and Anna, landed in New York, were processed at Ellis Island, and were allowed to enter the U.S. They made their way from New York City up the Hudson River to the Albany area, where, as new American immigrants, they settled and began their new life. There they met up with their sisters and brothers, sister and brothers from the old country who had also escaped religious persecution, war, and death. Harry and Anna did not have much; they had family, they had freedom, and they had each other. In America my grandparents learned English. They learned the customs of their new country. They embraced the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the freedom to live their life without undue interference by the government. They embraced their new country, America, a remarkable country where anything was possible.

Soon, in America, the land of opportunity, my grandfather and his brother started a grocery store. They worked long and hard. Harry was not afraid of working hard in America, because he knew he could reap the fruits of his labor. In America, unlike in Russia, Harry was no longer afraid of the government taking away his business, taking away his hard earned money, or taking away his freedom. Or his life.

In America Harry and Anna were free. Harry and Anna now lived in America and they appreciated every minute of it … for the rest of their lives. They became American citizens. They were proud to be American citizens. Proud to live in America. And ever so grateful for the opportunity to live in America, ever so grateful for their freedom. In America, their individual freedom and liberty was guaranteed, by the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Anna soon became pregnant and gave birth to a son. My father. In all, my grandparents had three children, two boys and a girl. As American immigrants, above all, Harry and Anna wanted their children to have a good life, a better life, an American life. And Harry and Anna realized that, in America, opportunities to have a good life come from education and hard work. Harry and Anna made sure that their children went to school, received a good education, and they made sure that their children understood the values of work and family. As a result, Harry and Anna’s children, my father and his sister and brother, first generation Americans, prospered. My father went to college. He worked his way through college playing the piano. His sister became a professional singer. His little brother went to Julliard, America’s premier school of music, on a scholarship, and became a professional musician in New York, on Broadway, where he played six instruments. This, within one generation of Harry and Anna coming to America. This, within one generation of coming to America with no money, no English, and, once they got here, with no help from the government. This, within one generation of coming to America, taking advantage of freedom and making their own opportunities. My grandparents understood what freedom and opportunity was. They thanked God (and America) for their freedom, worked hard for their opportunities, and never expected anything from the government, other than the promise of freedom.

I never once heard my grandparents complain. They never complained about America. They never complained about anything. They never had much but they had enough; they had family, they had each other and they had freedom. And they always felt blessed to be living in America. Since Harry and Anna had something to compare America to (religious persecution, war, and death) they understood fully what America offered – freedom and opportunity – freedom and opportunity to those who valued it and used that freedom and opportunity to make something of their lives. Harry and Anna made a life in their new country, America. They made a family in their new country, America. It was, to them, a good life. The best life. Because, in America, they had freedom.

Was their life easy? No. Was their happiness guaranteed or subsidized by the government? No. Did they proceed to build their life anyway? Yes.

That was many many years ago. Harry and Anna are gone. Their children, my father and his sister and brother, are gone. I am a second generation American. And like previous generations in my family, through education and hard work, I made my way through life. In America. Where freedom rings. And where the government, under the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, cannot, and may not, dictate how you live your life.

In some circles today, right here in America, it is popular and politically correct to believe that America is a bad place, a bad country, a mean and arrogant nation, where freedom and opportunity no longer exists. They are wrong. Just ask any immigrant, anyone who came to America for freedom and opportunity. Like Harry and Anna. And, if Harry and Anna were alive today they would tell you that America may not be perfect but, considering all the alternatives, America is by far the best place to be.

There are those in America who think it’s a good idea to replace freedom and opportunity, achieved through education and hard work, with government controlled socialism. This idea of socialism is fundamentally un-American.

Socialism is un-American. Socialism is for wimps. We, in America, are not wimps. In America, we do not run to the government and have the government solve all our problems. In exchange for giving up our freedoms. No matter how hard something may be, no matter how impossible it may look, if we want or need to solve our own problems, we, in America, figure out how to solve our problems and how to overcome our own obstacles and then we go and do it. We do it and we get it done. Just like Harry and Anna.

The idea of the government taking over America and taking over your life, restricting individual freedom and opportunity, is fundamentally un-American. And dishonorable. It dishonors my grandparents. It dishonors my parents. It dishonors me. And it dishonors every hard working American and their immigrant ancestors.

Socialism in America? Harry and Anna would be ashamed.

Andrew Lawrence is the published author of numerous non-fiction books that make you smarter, richer and happier. His books include Glimmers Of Hope, which predicts the future – from now to 2020. Free excerpts are offered at:

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