A few minutes after ten o’clock yesterday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi started talking about some of the Americans who, as young children, arrived in this country with their families and have been here doing all of the things that make America America ever since: creating businesses, teaching our youth, even curing cancer.
She is stumbling over pronunciations of names from Mexico and Thailand, from Guatemala and Afghanistan.
A century ago, when my great-grandmother Yetta and Donald Trump’s grandfather Frederick and Nancy Pelosi’s mother Annunciata all came to this country they came from Austria, Bavaria and Italy. Their physical appearances were not that different than that of the British who preceded them.
There are some who will tell you that these differences in nations of origin are important, but they are not. Frightened young children, fleeing the danger of tyranny and poverty (often times facilitated by our own government intervention) to a new life in the land of the free and the home of the brave are all the same. Young parents aspiring to work hard to be able to support their children, and give them enough food so they could learn in school are all the same.
A generation later, children whose parents were on opposite sides of wars thousands of miles apart study in the same classrooms, play for the same teams, and grow up to walk in the same halls of congress. Protecting DACA recipients is about more than allowing young people whose only home has been America to remain in the country. It’s about staying true to our creed of protecting the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Maybe it takes a government shutdown for us to decide as a country who we are going to be and what lives we are going to value because Nancy Pelosi wasn’t talking for eight hours about a bunch of strangers from strange places. She was talking about you and me, and all of us.