I don’t know many of you in Kunju’s email chain, nevertheless I’m writing blindly with the hope that you won’t use your ‘right to free speech’ and yell at me.
I am ‘center right’ on fiscal matters, but am pro gun control. The second amendment hasn’t found a space in the Indian-American psyche, I believe. I don’t ever want to touch a gun, let alone think that we should all own guns to protect ourselves from intruders.
Having got that sentiment out of the way, let me answer this one question posed by Minoo Verghese, the writer of this email.
‘Wonder why most of you preferred to settle in the so called “country of the brave and the free” – I’m guessing not for the freedom but for the moolah, whatever.
Let me count the ways. Why I love America and why I have chosen to stay here for close to half a century.
-For the rights, ‘endowed on us by our creator’ and embedded into our constitution by one of the greatest men ever lived, Thomas Jefferson – my ‘rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. If I get killed by a mad gunman tomorrow, my ‘right to life’ will have ended. So can it have ended traversing through some of the chaotic roads in Ernakulam.
-For the ‘Judeo-Christian’ principle that God created us all in His image, one that has directly led to the ‘western’ value that all men, the rich and the destitute, have the same worth in the eyes of God and man. This translates to: if I had the misfortune of ending up at the MGH (world’s most premier hospital) tomorrow, I don’t have to have my nephew’s brother-in-law’s wife working there to get a single doctor to even give a glance in my direction. if one lowly among us is kidnapped across enemy lines, the 82nd airborne is dispatched to the rescue.
-My privilege to get up every morning, take a hot shower (no water allocation), put on a fresh set of ‘LLBean’ clothes and drive my own little Toyota Camry and park in our $7B company’s parking lot with ease. my bosses are Bill and Matt, not ‘sir’.
-My right to not to have to bribe my way through the bureaucracy to renew my driver’s license.
-For a good glass of Merlot, a juicy hamburger, ‘Lenox’ fine bone china, Red Sox in August, Super Bowl in February, and movies with Brad Pitt (‘Moneyball’ comes to mind, if you haven’t seen it, please do).
-Where I can argue with my ‘bleeding-heart’ friends and my daughters on the merits of fiscal prudence.
-For not having to squirrel away my entire life savings and my inheritance, to see my three daughters get married.
-For being able to go on a safari in Kenya, and to see ‘Mama Mia’ on Broadway while taking in the ‘Big Apple’.
When we bash ‘white people’ for all the ills of the world, accusing them of forcefully aiming to conform the whole world to the ‘American or European way’, please bear in mind, that it’s the same race that gave us William Shakespeare and ‘Hamlet’, Michelangelo and the ‘Sistine Chapel’, Henry Ford and the world’s first assembly line, the Wrights brothers and the jet airplane, Penicillin and 8-lane freeways, JFK and the ‘moonshot’, the steam engine, the wheel, Steve jobs and ‘Apple’, and the Magna Carta which is the very source of the noble idea of ‘one man to one vote’ (democracy).
Need I go on with the names? Like Galileo, Magellan and Copernicus? Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton, and Thomas Edison?
In all fairness, would the ‘native’ Americans or this continent have been better off, if the ‘white man’ who gave us the Declaration Of Independence and The Bill Of Rights, never set foot on its shores?
The ‘proof is in the pudding’, folks.
This country has been the hope of the earth, ever since a bunch of Anglo-Saxons settled in Jamestown, VA and introduced the world to capitalism and free enterprise, and people all over the world haven’t stopped since, standing in ‘snakelines’, in scorching heat and blistering cold, in front of US consulates all over the world, to get that coveted document called an American Visa. When the same happens in front of the Chinese, Indian, Ugandan and Lithuanian consulates, then we can claim they also have the same rights and opportunities and desirable governments.
And to answer that first question by Minoo one more time, we may have all come here in pursuit of the ‘big green’, but it’s undeniably the basic human rights that have pulled us in.
Merry Christmas and a happy 2013 and
Peace On Earth..