Ashamed To Be An American

I am the child of New Immigrants. Those who arrived from southern and eastern Europe between 1180-1924 when we were finally told that “real Americans” did not enjoy our presence. Our parents fled poverty, war and hatred to find a home in the “Promised Land” of America. As a small boy my pop and I would walk through the park on Sundays as men and women on soap boxes proclaimed their ideas and he would say: “America, America, here a man can walk the streets in safety and no one will kill him. Here a man can earn a living.” Yes, that was the American Dream. My mother on reaching Manhattan Island from Ellis Island, looked down on the streets and cried. She did not see gold that she could pick up and become wealthy. My people fought in World War I, we fought in World War II, and we fought in Korea. Most of us such as myself joined the armed forces because we thought it to be our patriotic duty to serve the land which had given us so much. I was proud to serve in the US Army.

Today, I feel ashamed to be an American. I voted against a president who sent thousands of men and women to their deaths or to suffer wounds because there were weapons of mass destruction that never existed.
I voted for a president who promised to clean up the mess in the Veterans Administration and five years later proclaimed that he was “mad as hell”about the mess which threatened the lives of those who had served.
I inhabit a land in which crazy men and women believe it is their “right” to wander the streets armed to the teeth.
I am ashamed that our Republicans in Congress can not even raise taxes a few percentage points in order to secure money for rebuilding our nation or paying off student debts. Oh, by the way, during World War II and the Korean War the top figure was 90% taxes on high wealth. And, believe it or not, millions of jobs were created.
I am ashamed of young men and women who lack any interest in creating a new America, they are too busy fiddling with their iPads or gazing at films of violence.
Millions go hungry in this land, and few care. It is shameful.
Millions are finally securing needed health care while millions yell their anger.

Who are these new Americans? There is one thing I do know about them–they will never be the generation that sent a man or woman to Mars, let alone to the Moon.

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