With an extremely important election coming up, immigration is now a national issue, with the current administration building walls and sending the military to the border.
So I ask each of you: how different would America be today if these things had happened 100–150 years ago when OUR ancestors were trying to come here — for whatever reason? It seems to me that our ancestors came here in droves, and settled here — their new homeland — without incident, before setting out to raise their families.
My great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Josef and Anna Sabo, were just two of those immigrants. Josef and Anna came here from Slovakia via Germany. Once here, they were married, found work and a place to live, and raised their children, including my grandfather Emil Sabo.
Emil Sabo — one generation removed from European ancestors — went off to fight in World War I for this country — the United States — against the homeland of his parents. He returned home a year later wearing a Purple Heart, earned while being injured and gassed in battle. Emil Sabo died at the tender age of 48, possibly due to complications from the wounds or gassing he suffered in that war. Emil Sabo left behind a wife and nine children.
Our ancestors came here and gave birth to this nation, and their children and grand-children subsequently defended it, as I have.
Are the people struggling to emigrate here from south of the border so much different than our grandparents? Some may be criminals, but I am willing to bet 99% of them are just like our ancestors — simply looking to build a better life for themselves and their families. And someday their children and grandchildren may be defending this nation.
This is a very distinct possibility, as generation after generation has come to this land with the hope of a brighter future and a gratitude that leads to service. We should be embracing these people now as the next generation of Americans who will fight to defend the freedoms they came here to embrace: unless we have lost sight of how wonderful it is to dream and to hope for a better future for our children; unless we believe they are all gang members and killers; unless we buy the lie that they are all coming here to take our jobs.
I don’t believe those lies, and as for me and my family, we would rather have someone coming here to build a new life — someone that was determined to work hard, someone like my great-grandparents — live next to us ANY DAY before living next to some irrational, hate-mongering bigot who wants to keep these folks out because of the fears stoked by those in power.
We must take a stand against the haters, the bigots, the fear-mongers; we must oppose those who lie about ‘angry mobs’ just to instill fear in people. Taking a stand means voting those who promote fear over freedom out of office.
This November, I ask all my brothers and sisters whose families came here seeking a better life for themselves and their families to take a stand for our ancestors: tell our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents that we thank them for coming here by continuing that tradition and welcoming those who would choose to work hard to build and defend these…
United States of America.
©Timothy J. Sabo