Monday, July 4, 2011

The Most Patriotic Citizen I Ever Met....

began life here as an illegal alien. He had something the vast majority of U.S. citizens do not possess. He had the gift of perspective and gratitude. I have written of him before.

I met him in Shakopee, Mn. It was July of 2007. We crossed paths because we had a little time and we loved motorcycles. These are the sorts of things that can happen spontaneously- when you are not too busy rushing about your life because you think you have to.

I saw him oogling my motorcycle and all of my luggage at a gas station. We struck up a conversation about traveling on bikes and he explained that he would love to travel the U.S. like I was but that he had responsibilities and there was simply no way he could take a few months off and ride. I understood.

He was born in Mexico around 1960. Somewhere south of Brownsville, Tx. He was born into pure poverty. His family owned no property, they lived in a corrugated shack in the dirt. Often they would steal things they needed. Food and clothing. He was not proud of this nor did he glorify or rationalize whether it was right or wrong. That was how he lived his first 12 years.The family snuck into Brownsville sometime around 1972. They rented a house with indoor plumbing.

I think his name was Jose but I cannot remember now. What I do remember was his patriotism and his gratefulness. In Mexico he explained, there was no opportunity. In America, you had the opportunity to work hard and prosper. In Mexico as a child, there was no opportunity. Time and time again, he talked about the American dream. He had worked hard, he now owned a house and a Harley. He had a nice family and he was a co-owner in a small trucking outfit. He was incredibly grateful for those things and he repeated that often in the hour I spent talking with him. Mexico and that corrugated shack had given him the gift of perspective.

He was grateful for what he had...not resentful for what he thought he had been denied.

I have thought about that conversation many times. How random it was. How badly I needed to hear those things that day. There are millions of Americans that need to hear that message as well. We have opportunity and freedom here. But it is waning and the windows are getting smaller. Opportunity is not some gift bestowed upon a few of us- by an oppressive government that picks the winners from it's nanny supporters and statist followers. That's not how it was intended to work.

In one hours' time, this man convinced me he was a true patriot. Not a nationalist. He was living the dream and just as scared as I was that our very own government would screw it all up. 

America was supposed to be the place where dreams came true. Where opportunity existed for all people- not just Harvard grads, greedy Wall St. bankers, or the government and it's lawyers who cover up their crimes. Something has gone horribly wrong when those types of people become our role models- sanctimonious, greedy, entitled. Truly sad. I'll take Jose's brand of Americana any day. Happy 4th of July!

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