What is it that makes America the nation that so many want to live in unlike nations such as Russia, China, or Turkey? What is it that it offers that attracts so many people to its shores?
I suggest it is one word: opportunity. The opportunity to be whatever you want to be and to be protected in that right. The opportunity to have something for yourselves or your children that you would not otherwise have. The opportunity as Boston Municipal Court Judge Elijah Adlow put it: “to have peace, quiet and the right to enjoy life.”
Thomas Gray spoke about those who lived and died in the English countryside. He wrote:
“Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid – Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire; – Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d, – Or wak’d to ecstasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page – Rich with the spoils of time did ne’er unroll; – Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage, – And froze the genial current of the soul.”
My parents have passed away. On the date of their birth I spend time thinking of them. I usually do it in private. I decided this year to put some of my thoughts into this blog about my mother Alice Rogers Connolly the daughter of two Irish immigrants.
My first memories of her is when she would come into my room in the middle of the night. She had in her hand a very little bottle probably about a one ounce container which was a very dark cobalt blue. It had an eye dropper in it. She would have me turn to each side and put one drop of the warm liquid into each of my ears.
I next recall her visiting me at Children’s Hospital in Boston where I went to have my eardrums lanced. I was there eleven days. She and my father duly arrived with ice cream each evening. Never was ice cream more appreciated. Because I was hospitalized I have the records that show my earliest memories were when I was one year and ten months old.
My wife Maria, maiden name Wozniuk, recently wrote a letter to the Ukrainian Weekly which it just published. I will set it out here but first a little bit about her background. She left Ukraine in the middle of winter in a horse draw cart with her family because her father was a target of the Bolsheviks. She ended up in Germany. She had the experience of running to bomb shelters as Allied bombs rained down on her. When Germany surrendered she and her family lived in displaced persons camps. Her family, especially her father, had to hide from the Soviet secret police who were scouring the camps to drag Ukrainians back to the Soviet Union. Many committed suicide rather than returning knowing they would be treated as enemies, most likely executed or sent to Siberia.
She arrived in the United States at age 9 on a ship which the headlines of the local newspaper noted: “DP Ship Arrives.” DP was not a term of endearment. It was used by others as a way to denigrate the new arrivals.
President Joseph Biden is expected to make this speech later today;
“My Fellow Americans,
I have been in office for about two months and a week. Over this weekend a group of 19 Republican United States senators went to visit the southern border to see the condition of it and the manner in which people that have come to this country are being treated.
They are appalled at what they saw. So too am I. But what they speak about did not just happen.
What they observed is what I inherited. The administration that went before me let it fester like this for four years and these senators apparently were unaware of this. I like them was astounded to see the conditions that exist.
I am determined to do something about them. When I became president my first obligation was to do something greater. I had to face the mess that had been created within our country where over 500,000 of our fellow Americans had died from Covid 19. As I promised I expended most of my energies addressing this and securing and distributing vaccines to fight this deadly scourge which came upon our land.
The Bill of Rights. I suppose you all have heard of them. They are attached to the Constitution and set forth the rights of the folk in Americas against the government, It consists of ten amendments to the Constitution. Sometimes it is good to remember them even though they say nothing about the right not to wear masks.
Amendment I: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Amendment III:“No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”
Amendment VI: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”
A mentally unstable person with a machine gun, or its equivalent an AR-15, kills ten others. Horror or horror. Folk going about their daily lives visiting a supermarket are gunned down. We weep, we cry, we pray, and we forget in a day or two. Then a mentally unstable person with a machine gun, or its equivalent an AR-15, kills ten others. Horror or horror. Folk going about their daily lives visiting a supermarket are gunned down. We weep, we cry, we pray, and we forget in a day or two. It’s gun ground hog day in America courtesy of the Supreme Court which equates AR-15’s with muskets.
Article III, Section 1, of the Constitution provides: “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish . . . .”
The number of judges on the Supreme Court was not established as being 9 until 1869. Prior to that it had been down to 6 and up to 10. Taking the population of the United State in 1870 we can see it was 38,500,000 – or one supreme court judge for about every 4,300,000 people. The present population is 330,000,000. Right now there is one judge for every 37 million people.
Today is the first Sunday of spring. Somewhere spring is in the air and that joyous feeling of the warm southerly breeze caressing one restores one’s spirit. Alas, on Cape Cod the calendar lies – we have to wait until Memorial Day for spring to come with its smiling face and before we can get too used to it summer with its heat pushes it away.
Did you ever wonder why spring, summer, fall, autumn or winter are not capitalized? I always thought that they should be. I guess you could say I did not learn my English grammar too well for I am sure within one of my lessons it would have explained the reason why days and months are capitalized but grouping them together is not.
Did you ever wonder why we have four seasons? Some countries where it is hot or cold all the time only have one. Others have two. Then there are places like Cape Cod that really needed only to have three of different lengths with winter being the longest. I used t o tell myself “if winter is here can spring be far behind.” That offered me hope that the cold would end at some not too distant date so I would not get so down. For some reason when I chanted that this year it offered little succor. The answer always came back telling me it was far, far off. Maybe that had something to do with the Covid-19 pandemic. Or, perhaps more likely aging when cold seems to strike with greater fury.
I was thinking the other day about America and what it means to me. I was doing this in light of the many criticisms thrown at it by folk who do not think much about it; and also by the stunning display of ignorance shown by those who think it is about waving the American flag as we saw on January 6, 2021, when dolts carrying that flag were attempting to destroy what the flag stood for. I’ve been saddened by the idea that the American flag is used as a symbol of division especially when I think of the Marines and Navy Corpsman who planted it on top of Mount Surabaci on Iwo Jima.
I thought of America watching the travel show on PBS put on by Rick Steves who was in Ethiopia. He talked about starving folk who live there and their need for the simplest of things. He pointed to several kinds of aid that were going in there. In one instance it was building a well in a small town so the folk would have access to water without traveling miles for it. Something we take for granted without a second thought the Ethiopians find the need to treasure every drop when it is available. The well was built by an American NGO – drugs were provided by another American NGO – other items of aid were given by the American government.