Tuesday, May 2, 2006

O say, can you see the ramparts we "illegals" wash

Editors note: Joe Lado puts some perspective on the whole debate about immigration and immigration reform. Reminding us all not only of our own immigrant past, but the basic principles of justice and freedom on which this nation was founded. It's a fitting reminder to all about what this great experiment in human freedom is supposed to be all about.

O say, can you see the ramparts we "illegals" wash
by Joseph Lado

There they were in the shadows, secretly meeting in places to discuss a bold plan here to fore never imagined. To take on the world's superpower and to shake the bonds of tyranny. All knowing full well that if found out they would all face the gallows noose. Some were rich, some were craftsmen, others were well versed under the law, but none would escape to the comfort of their lives. None would retire to the soft furniture and a good book by candle light. All were coconspirators of an illegal plan to over through their government, held steadfast to the plan by a greater good, the good of justice.

When I hear the word illegal used over and over again, I remember back to the time when our country was yet forming. When men of vision and of great conscious, some preacher, some statesmen, some slave who took on the greatest power on earth simply to acquire a good, a good somehow more precious then their own lives, a good only truely valuable to future generations. To take on England with its whale sized navy and elephants sized army. To challenge the mother land's standing laws against sedition, to meet in secret and to take up arms... The good is freedom. The good is life. The good is liberty. The good is the pursuit of happiness.

These goods for many of that times illegals were never personally achieved. They were won for their children at home, for their grand children yet to be born. It was not for them. Their bodies lay rotting in the fields of Lexington, Concord, and Yorktown. And when I visit these places and run my hand through the grass above where they sacrificed so much for me, I at least remember to thank them. I thank them not for the easy chair that I sleep in at night, I thank them not for the books that I read by Franklin's electricity, I thank them not... for the comforts that I can afford myself, for that is not the gift that they gave me. I thank them for the spirit of the revolutionary. The chance to stand beside them like real minute men, wear the badge of "illegal" in their honor and fight for future generations of my kind. Not only do I fight for freedom. Not only do I fight for liberty. I am not alone in quest for life. But I would sacrifice all for one word, which has been the guiding principle underlying all that we live for as Americans. The word is "justice."

America again needs to live up to the bell toll of its creed and stop dishonoring the cracked symbol of liberty. America must stand before the lady who proclaims that it is welcoming to the other world's teaming masses struggling to be free and live up to her proclamation, or return her to where she came for she is not an American, but and immigrant from France.

I now align myself with the American stooped over in a field, fingers raw from pulling beats, picking cotton, capturing squash. My back wet from perspiration, my face leathered by years in the sun. I now place my hand on the push brooms late at night, feel the steam rise up from the pile of dishes, rub my elbow from the soreness that comes with scrubbing floors. I help take out America's trash, lay bricks for her homes, and place flowers in her gardens. I take care of her children, make her Pupusas and sprinkle her cakes with white powdered sugar.

It is wrong to hold me to some false idea of some unjust law. It is wrong to think of me as anything other than what I am. I stand face tight with interlocked arms waiting for the first barrage of musket balls to scourer my chest and rake my limbs knowing that my arms are not interlocked with the enemies of freedom, but the founders of it. My arms are interlocked with Crispus Attucks, John Paul Jones, and Paul Revere. My arms interlocked with those who revere liberty, freedom, and life all of which is sustained by justice.

originally posted at Daily Kos



Beautifully written, and so true.

chocolate ink said...

I first read this over at Eurotrib, amazingly beautiful and inspired writing.

DuctapeFatwa said...

It is an excellent piece of word writing, and a compelling reminder that those Englishmen so long ago were sincerely dedicated to the principle of human rights and justice for all white male property owners.

And recently we have seen such compelling reminders that many remain just as committed to that principle today.

XicanoPwr said...

Have you post it on MLW or ePM?