Too often we forget how lucky we are to live in America. When the fate of our lives was broken, we definitely hit the jackpot. Once in a while it is nice to be reminded of what makes our country so special.
The recipe that made America great required a huge, well-lubricated crucible of freedom. The main ingredient is that someone from your family came here from another place. They came here so that they didn’t have to march in a maiden parade, hide their faces behind a veil, live on their knees or break the heels of their boots and lay siege to hope again. They live here so they don’t have to live in fear of being locked up because of opposing opinions. They came to America to courageously dream and live their own lives, not dictated by a despot, a tyrant, a fortress or a dictator.
In this melting pot the Indians and their culture of spirituality, respect for the elderly and love for the land slowly merge. Then there are the thousands of Chinese who have left their country and would be hanged for trying to leave. The Chinese still came, even though they were despised and hanged themselves from the nearest tree because they had done something wrong. They came to build the railroad, the central Pacific, from Sacramento to Promontory Point through the mighty Sierra. Today, their offspring graduated with distinction from Stanford and are building technology companies worth billions of dollars.
Our recipe has a large glass of Irish. While the Chinese built the western part of the routes, the Irish built the eastern routes. The Irish left behind an exhausted country that offered nothing but poverty and hunger, a new land that suited them well. After naked brutes helped to build the railroads, they also built our cities. Even today you can wander around the surrounding pubs in America, listen to Irish Brog and swear you’re back in Dublin.
Don’t forget to add the Italians, Germans and other Europeans who first came to Comstock for gold and then for silver. When their barrels and gold pots were empty, they were miners in the mining industry. A German named Levi sold them jeans, an Italian named Giannini founded the Bank of America and thousands of other immigrants founded companies that still exist today.
The Russians came for our whales, built villages in Northern California and eventually sold us Alaska for a good price. The Scots came to build large ranch empires and the Cubans risked their lives and came in leaking boats to get a good taste of our freedom. The French came for our furs and finally discovered the West. The Southern Cajuns have given our country a good dose of herbs and joie de vivre (the joy of life).
The Mexicans came to pick our fruit and work our fields, and they brought a strong work ethic and love for the family to the American kitchen. If you’re traveling in Southwest America today, you’ll find at least one good Mexican restaurant in every city, and English is often a foreign language. This reminds us that the southwest belonged to the Mexicans long before the arrival of the Anglos.
Wars have added many races to our hocus-pocus equipment. The South Vietnamese came because they would have been executed if they had stayed at home, and the Thais, Cambodians and Laotians came too. The Iranians arrived after the fall of the Shah in 1979 and the Japanese were loyal American civilians long before we placed them in internment camps during the Second World War.
The main ingredient of our American stew was black Africans who came against their will. We fought for their freedom and their offspring brought so much color to our culture in sports, music and entertainment. Today, they are the heart and soul of urban America.
Mix that together and you have American families with all kinds of permutations and possibilities. Let them simmer for 250 years and you’ll be with us. Just like in the United States. There has never been and never will be such an American thing.
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