On Tolerance


I am first generation born in the United States and I grew up in what can probably be described (affectionately) as an Italian ghetto. As a child, I remember walking to Sunday mass on a warm summer morning and enjoying the smells of sauce and meatballs, probably simmering since the night before, radiating from many of the homes along East 87th street. I knew my mother was making sauce as well, so I was anxious to return home after picking up a loaf of semolina bread, still hot from the oven, from the local bakery. I knew dinner wasn’t for a few more hours (the main meal on Sunday was in the early afternoon), so when I thought my mother wasn’t looking, I’d break off an end of the loaf, dip it into the sauce, and quickly thrust it into my mouth to avoid detection, inevitably burning my tongue.

My grandparents didn’t speak English but just about everyone in the family, and probably in the neighborhood, spoke and/or understood enough Italian, usually a dialect, mine was Sicilian, to get along. I was pretty much an adult before I learned that “baqasu” wasn’t the Italian word for bathroom, that it was broken English for “back (out) house.” Though it wasn’t an issue at the time, I’m sure that more than a few family members and friends were “undocumented,” or “illegals” as some in the current climate of intolerance would probably refer to them. My father became a citizen while he was serving in the American Army during World War II, fighting in the invasion of Sicily, through the villages and towns of his birth. Because, at the time, the job market for immigrants with little education was so difficult, some may have flirted with the mafia in order to make a living. Though they were but a few, to this day, Italian Americans are stereotypically portrayed on TV and in film as gangsters and criminals. I can honestly say that most members of my immigrant community were honest, patriotic, honorable, and hard working people. Neither of my parents graduated from high school, my mother worked all of her life as a seamstress in a Manhattan sweatshop, my father in construction. Because of their sacrifices, I enjoyed a childhood rich, not in material possessions, but in love, tradition, compassion, understanding, and tolerance. For this I am truly blessed.

Though I am not sure why, many Americans have forgotten that we are all from somewhere else, that we share more than what divides us. I am saddened about how this nation has forgotten its values and for what we allegedly stand for as Americans. I grieve that even some of my friends who share a similar background as mine have grown cold and insensitive to the plight of the “new” immigrants. For me, understanding and tolerance has nothing to do with political ideology or who resides in the White House. For me, it is about remembering my heritage and the people I knew and loved. For me, it is about who I am, and where I came from. For me it is about the values that I learned from my immigrant family, fought for as a Marine, and for which so many of my friends have died.

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  1. I find it so frustrating, as a “white guy” to listen to all these flawed comparisons about immigration. Yes in decades past, Canada or the US (Europe et al) were comprised of a lot of immigrants but to hear you leftist immigration lovers draw comparisons to what has been happening for the past 20 years and especially in the present time is insanity. There is NO comparison between immigration from European countries, traditionally Anglo/Saxon Christian nations and immigration from the 3rd world countries, especially the middle east and African countries. There is no comparison and it’s pathetic to hear you people continuing to draw parallels between them. Immigration, both illegal and legal, from those 3rd world countries, refugees et al are destroying the fabric of a coherent society. When you start bringing in Muslims into a nation, they will not assimilate. Whenever they get a foothold into a nation, throughout history, they WILL cause trouble, expenses to the citizens.
    There are enough people in our own countries to worry about, to help financially. There are students with special needs in HIgh Schools that have no where to go after they finish their programs in schools. These kids should be helped. Homeless people, veterans that have problems, injuries. Proper proportionate pensions, help for elderly. We are making it impossible to help who we SHOULD be helping and only creating more disunity.

    • Trumps ban, is on nations, not Muslims. Yes it happens to be muslim majority in those selected countries. Do I drink the TRump koolaid? No. I want way more from Trump and of course scale back military, police state, Iran escalation etc. I know Trump is tied up with Israelis. I know what he is. I also know what a poison immigration is. Mass immigration, “Diversity” is white genocide by a different name. No other nation would allow a dramatic change to their culture and religion, their nation. Only Western Europe. Why? Read the Protocols and you’ll know exactly why.

  2. Inscribed on the Statue of Liberty

    “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-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    This is what we allege to stand for as a nation. Either we live up to it of we admit our hypocrisy.

  3. There’s a difference: immigrants, refugees and labor guests. Those who arrived in USA on “Mayflower” are not the same as those who run to EU (for example). Many immigrants to America were from Germany. And they where the color of German nation. One thing when immigrant is smart, clever and educated and he integrates into the new society becoming part of it, and another thing when simple people come, do not integrate, do not educate and do not want to work – just to have bonuses. I’d accept 1 precious scientist, than 100 Chinese or Arabs, who will live in their “harlem” districts and spit on your country and its culture.

    • I know about Amishes, JohnZ. I mean – if you allow to immigrate engineers, scientists and high qualification people, you got the progress. Many talented scientists leaved for USA from Russia, during the rule of Drunkard Boris Ye. If you let refugees uncounted like now in EU – you will get only troubles and nothing else. It’s my own firm opinion. No one wants to have a mess in his own apartment.

  4. Every Government has a right to decide who comes to the country and when .
    I don’t know if the tank is full or they just want people of their choice only to come but you have elected a president knowing what he feels about immigration so you will have to face what he does.

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