My mother's maiden name was Eleanora Maria Marciano. That's about as Italian as you can get. And she certainly was. She came here – legally – as a seven-year-old child who spoke no English. And by the time she was 17, she was elected valedictorian of her graduating class.
You see my mother was Italian to the bone – and American to the core. She and my dad, the son of an English – legal – immigrant raised three children who have red, white, and blue blood running through our veins. My mother never bothered to teach us Italian (except for words like spaghetti, cacciatore, and, of course, Sinatra) because she wanted us to be American through and through, in thought, word, and deed.
After all, my mother did not come to America to be an Italian – anymore than my grandfather Clews came here to be British. They came to be Americans - to dip deeply into American traditions (like baseball, apple pie, motherhood, and waving the American flag on the Fourth of July). And to stand tall for a country built on liberty, free enterprise, and, yes, the rare brand of rugged individualism Obamunists abhor.
Did my mother face discrimination as a child? Of course; all Italians of her generation did. She was called a "wop," a "dago," and a "guinea." I'm sure that had not her father been so horribly oppressed because he looked like he just stepped off the spaghetti boat, he would definitely have been the president of General Motors (after all, isn't that the kind of pure poppycock all descendants of minorities are now supposed to spout?) The truth is, had my grandfather not been tough as nails and obdurately uneducable, he might not have had to dig ditches all of his life.
But, be that as it may, my mother – like her brother, Memo, and sister, Margareta (both of whom came here legally) -- bought into the American Dream. And because they did, their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren still do. Eleanora, Memo, and Margareta did not isolate themselves in squalid barrios. They didn't angrily wave the Italian flag. They didn't indignantly demand that everyone around them learn to speak their language.
Nor did they smuggle their Italian relatives across the border to live off of others' hard- earned money – and, of course, demand to be handed the treasured citizenship for which millions of legal immigrants have worked so hard and are so proud.
They believed – as millions of legal immigrants do today – that, as the old American saying goes, "You get what you work for." If you are an immigrant who gets your citizenship by applying, studying, and struggling for it, chances are you will glow with pride when you raise your right hand and truly become an American citizen.
If you don't work for it – if you steal it by sneaking across the border and living off of what others have worked, fought, and died to build – what you get is "ill-gotten gains." And like most thieves, you scoff at those whom you have robbed.
My little, Italian, legal immigrant mother knew all of that, But, there is one thing she very likely never even thought of – since during her lifetime we didn't have 30 million illegal aliens demanding a free ride on the gravy train. She never thought about the fact that for every undeserving illegal alien who sneaks into America to steal our birthright, a good, decent legal alien is forced to remain in lands where opportunity is rare and hope is lost. Like Gresham's Law, the bad drives out the good.
So, here is my appeal to the Washington political hacks: Stop groveling to get the Hispanic vote by betraying American sovereignty. Defeat the illegal amnesty bill in loving memory of a little seven-year-old legal immigrant named Eleanora Maria Marciano. And open the doors of opportunity to all of the darling little Rodríguezes, Jimenezes, and Martinezes who might one day be able to enjoy the banquet of life that is America – if you just stop selling out to the greedy, grasping illegal aliens who steal the bread from their precious mouths.
Now, is that really too much to ask?