Tag Archives: heritage

Tidying Ancestry

Who knew reactionary Anglo-America was so afraid?

From where did that segment of our population derive its fright? What scares them so?

Since a good portion of my family lineage alien to the highly-mythicized “immigrant experience,” we really don’t have a side in the current argument roiling descendants of Americans who arrived after us with the successors of Americans who got here after them. But good citizens as we are, as we’ve constantly proven despite authority’s and by extension our lesser evolved fellow Americans’ attempts to keep us second class and suppress our desires to live decently and excel, this American issue demands we stand on the right side.

If you’re an American comprised of Colonial stock, really, does the Statue of Liberty mean much? After all, Emma Lazarus wasn’t describing us, but those who came long afterwards. That Golden Door millions of migrants squeezed through? We built that.

You’re welcome.

Seen from this perspective, the Statue of Liberty is a terrific gift from France (our Republic’s oldest ally, by the way) that reminds America has promised a lot of checks which have yet been written. And at the current rate probably won’t be. Freedom, equality, and opportunity are marvelous concepts. We’ve made certain they’re enshrined all over the place. The only problem is each is distributed on a sliding scale.

Often the more worthy get meager amounts, while those less deserving stagger under the whole magillah.

A terrific example of this clear disparity emerges from the nation’s immigration debate. Well, until less dynamic America absolutely fell asleep at the switch and mistakenly allowed Donald Trump’s installation into the Oval Office, it was a debate. Now the matter has devolved into verbal brawls.

An issue key to the future of the United States, one requiring deliberate discussion, has plummeted down to the short-fingered vulgarian’s playground name-calling level. What the vile pig has wrought insults intellect.

If it isn’t Der Trump who sinks and seeps beneath the bottom of the barrel, then it’s one of his fellow red-the-the face Make America White Again screamers driving discourse down. One wonders how low the whole bunch can descend. After all, hasn’t this mob already demonstrated they have no decency?

Until learning some right-wingers erroneously believe the Lazarus’ verses defining the Statue of Liberty only approved of white migrants, wasn’t the worst bit of gringo begrudging that which castigated Central American parents who brought their children along on the perilous journey towards El Norte? One or two of the more prominent rightist provocateurs accused those mothers and fathers of “child abuse.”

For those unaware, in several Central American nations civil control has surrendered almost completely to amorality. These states’ apparatuses are dysfunctional even when they operate. The void left by governing institutions has been supplanted and exploited by all sorts of criminal elements. Drug dealers. Human traffickers. Thieves. Robbers. Contract murders. A good number are in cahoots with the duly elected and appointed officials charged with maintaining standards and order.

Populations in these countries have become no more than pawns and prey. Unless the citizen resides at some protected rarefied height, he or she, their possessions, are ready victims for the maws grinding hope and life from the people.

Seeing their survival limited, the residents rightly only see one way out. The United States. The beacon.

Earlier such migrants would’ve been Europeans motivated by certainly often less dire straits. Although their perils were nowhere near as ominous as today’s Central Americans, their reasons for forsaking the Old World were almost as fervid.

Improved economic opportunities. Better prospects for their children. Aspects Americans take for granted and evangelicals wish to pervert, like religious freedom; or abandon altogether, the ability to lead lives without vicious community condemnation.

Perhaps native reactionaries have become so Americanized, ergo, forgetful, ignorant of their own ancestry the plights of the new seekers pluck none of the heartstrings that launch paeans to the Old Country now five or six generations distant. How long until Anglo ethnic identity fades and the hyphen finally gets erased?

When do we all simply become “Americans”?

What right-wingers willfully don’t see yet accuse Central American parents of is much the same mothers and fathers from throughout much of formerly sovereign-ruled Europe subjected their own progeny – arduous voyages. Maybe there were even treks before reaching the ship crossing the Atlantic. For the era, those journeys were just as likely danger-filled as uneventful.

Somehow too many American brown shirts have lulled themselves into seeing “the good immigrants” merely booking steerage passage on a Hamburg Line steamer and sailing into an East Coast harbor. Maybe at the very end of our nation’s Era of Immigration did transportation and safety apprehensions ease.

But few of those braying American bona fides in order to do the utmost to deny desperate people succor can acknowledge current similarities with those of voluminously idolized ancestors. Millions more Americans have ascended into society from familial lines that began in conditions akin to feudalism than royalty itself; the campesinos seeking escape from Central America bring that same capability to thrive and rise.

However, the initiative we once lionized and have memorialized has now in Der Trump’s funhouse mirror America become a menace.

Know what the true menace is? Our policies are being dictated by a man who summons the least in us. His edicts going against the grain of true American virtues are supported by weaklings whose baseless anxieties are further stoked by opportunists of the racist kind.

It is most telling that Der Trump’s appeals find easiest purchase and nestle deepest the vapid minds of sodden Americans marooned in less dynamic America. They allowed the modern world to pass them by. Blaming themselves for such voluntary sloth is beyond their ken.

Instead they gulp opioids as if these were interior crutches.

Nonetheless when conscious they urgently need scapegoats. Fortunately for them, and sadly for real Americans, Der Trump recognized their poverty of purpose. Forget sustaining the malady. Cadet Bone Spurs enlarges it.

He not only feeds disorder but in further fomenting this one he also fattens it.

Her Persian Voice

Heard the sharpest retort to one of the vilest insults recently. Of greater interest, though, was the woman who launched it.

Nasrin identified herself as “Persian.” Yeah. She’s Persian, all right. As Persian as I’m African. She’s a 20-something Cali girl through and through.

What gained my favor was her having enough pride in self to supplant Persian for Iranian. The former carries nobility stretching back into antiquity.

A Persian background is replete with culture and atavistic figures. Xerxes? Cyrus? Esther? Their respective histories are as current today as their living importance in the past.

Iranians, their inheritors, are poor cousins. Compared against their classic progenitors, they lack stature. Who esteems them? Continue reading Her Persian Voice

Let’s Cut the Rebop

Must the sensibilities of the fragile transform American English into an insipid language?

Our plummet through political correctness threatens rendering how we speak into mamby-pamby.

Several weeks ago, a very conscientious article ran decrying colloquialisms whose origins the author deemed racially-charged. Why, yes. Some were. What of them?

If the writing behind the subject had been any more earnest, the page would’ve wept. Since publication date sat so close to April 1st, I made sure the piece wasn’t a seasonal gag, a la some Borowitz satire.

Were that it was. Such would’ve elevated the article into clever entertainment rather than leave it low at honest persuasion. But since it was so doggone sincere, the views expressed so achingly put, that made this righteous tripe ripe for scorn. Continue reading Let’s Cut the Rebop

Who Was Oisk?

A vintage sportswear retailer issued a baseball catalogue a short time ago. Its cover featured a forlorn boy amid the ruins of what had been the quirky splendor of Ebbets Field, one-time home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. They had abandoned the ballpark and borough for Los Angeles. Their old address was being razed for low-income housing.

The dejected boy toted a bat and glove. By his demeanor both destruction and departure confused him. Doubtlessly he had been a true-blue Dodgers fan.

Can’t imagine such devotion today. Sports franchises routinely extort municipalities for taxpayer funded improvements and fresh facilities. Free agency has broken once solid binds between players and fans.

Even our old baseball cathedrals are no longer sacrosanct.

There should’ve been an outcry and defense for old Yankee Stadium similar to that which spared Grand Central Terminal sharing the fate of McKim and White’s Penn Station. Instead, wrecking balls demolished the House That Ruth Built. And while the team simply moved across 161st Street, the old edifice’s aura remained put. Monumental as the new structure is, the Yankees’ glorious continuity is broken.

Ghosts do not travel. Not even in the Bronx. Continue reading Who Was Oisk?

Edna Long Left Questions

Vernon waited too late. A cousin, he now wants to assemble our family tree. A branch of it at least. One comprising our mutual matriarchal entities. The moment to have done this was decades ago when enough generations still stretched among us to weave that narrative together.

My grandmother Alice, his aunt, was born in 1908. Hers would’ve been a fine memory to excavate. She could’ve provided his enterprise’s bones. After all she was old enough to have known ex-slaves.

Ex-slaves. Talk about history coming to life. It’s one thing to watch Skip Gates’ Finding Your Roots or Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary. It surely would’ve been more immediate to have such recollections lent voice from a listener who heard them directly from people who underwent those indignities.

It’s no stretch to any imagination in Alice seeing her own grandparents as having once been chattel.

What prompted Vernon’s late, nearly futile search? Edna Long. Edna Long piqued him. Continue reading Edna Long Left Questions