Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day!
Happy 2nd Inaugeration of Barack H. Obama Day!
On 9th November 2009, we arrived not at Ellis Island, but at Phoenix Skyharbour International Airport.
The four of us arrived with just 8 suitcases (one of which was almost full of teddy bears, another with presents ready for Christmas).
Whilst we were lucky not to be one of those stories of immigrants arriving here with only $5 to their name or with nowhere to sleep that first night, we did have a few difficulties in the first days with our British bank losing the money we transferred to a new American bank, with finding out that despite our great credit ratings in the UK we had zero credit rating in the USA, not even to buy the mattresses, kettle, toaster, tv, car that we'd planned on in the first few days, a genius of a HR dept who cancelled our rental furniture order without talking to us first, grrr.
Very luckily we had parents who could wire us some money as a temporary measure so we could at least buy a garden set of chairs to sit on, mattresses to sleep on, pay for telephone line to be installed...we only had first world problems....still, look at the stress on my face in these first few days pics:
But we did have a rental property to move into. We did have each other. And we did have an immense amount of hope.
Most of this hope was down to the inaugeration of President Obama the year before. Him being elected and therefore a change happening in America was one the main reasons I said yes to Mr D when he asked if I'd move to the United States.
I was excited to be in America. I was excited that there would be real change happening in America. I was happy to be in my new adoptive country.
Over 3 years later, yes, I've been depressed by the stalemates in American politics impeding progress that is sorely needed. Yes, I've been sickened by the hatred I see between Americans with violently opposing views who'd rather see their own metaphorical hands be cut off than work together with the other side. Yes, I've been saddened that people can't see that it's a basic human right that people should get the healthcare they need, and that they shouldn't have to choose between losing their house or their children going hungry and paying for life-saving treatments. Yes, I've been desperately upset by the shootings, the racism, the bigotry towards people who are 'different'. Yes, I'm confused by this nation that I thought was proud to be a great big melting pot, welcoming the world's tired, poor and huddled masses with open arms to help build a better America now having huge numbers of those descended from the immigrants of Ellis Island talking about today's immigrants with hatred or contempt, no longer recognising that we (yes, I'm proud to be an immigrant) might be coming to America not to steal your jobs, or leech your healthcare, but help be part of making this nation great, the envy of the world.
I cannot understand how a nation so immensely patriotic and proud of their country can have such a huge part of it now decrying that America is over, is ruined....how can you love your country and still tell the world it's ruined, finished because Obama was re-elected? Shouldn't you man up, stop being obsessed with winning and losing, Democrats and Republicans, red and blue states, gun-owners and anti-gun believers, and start working together as Team America, to make this nation great again, to make this nation a worthy world-leader?
Is this the America I expected? Not really. Was I naive? Probably.
And yet.......I still have hope. I have hope that Republicans and Democrats might find some way of working together from today, four years isn't a lot of time, you need to get moving. I have hope that politicians might stop acting like children, forget for the time being that they're red or blue but realise they're actually Team America, and we need them to play as a team. I have hope that the media start reporting the majority views in this country, not the extremists from both ends of the scale who shout the loudest and make us believe that there is no commonality.
Seeing this photo makes me hopeful.
"Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution...WE MADE OURSELVES ANEW, and vowed to MOVE FORWARD TOGETHER".
"TOGETHER, we resolved that a great nation MUST CARE FOR THE VULNERABLE, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune".
"Now, more than ever, WE MUST DO THESE THINGS TOGETHER, as ONE NATION AND ONE PEOPLE".
"America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands".
"We are made for this moment, and WE WILL SEIZE IT—so long as we seize it TOGETHER".
"WE, THE PEOPLE, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it".
"WE, THE PEOPLE, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity".
"WE, THE PEOPLE, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity".
"WE, THE PEOPLE, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war".
"WE, THE PEOPLE, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still".
"OUR JOURNEY IS NOT COMPLETE UNTIL our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts".
"OUR JOURNEY IS NOT COMPLETE UNTIL our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law".
"OUR JOURNEY IS NOT COMPLETE UNTIL we find a better way to welcome the immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity". :)
"OUR JOURNEY IS NOT COMPLETE UNTIL all our children know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm".
"Decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay".
"We CANNOT MISTAKE ABSOLUTISM FOR PRINCIPLE, or substitute spectacle for politics, OR TREAT NAME-CALLING AS REASONED DEBATE".
"We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect".
"Let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom".
I'm proud to be immigrant. I'm proud to live in the USA. I'm proud to do what I can to help this country be all that it can be.
Four more years :)