PLEASE NOTE: This post was previously published concerning the nomination of Sonya Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and also serves as a tribute to Fathers’, especially mine who has been gone for many years but never gone from my heart.
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” ~ Sonia Sotomayor
Here are my comments as well as my Father’s Day tribute:
Sonia Sotomayor, Barack Hussein Obama’s Supreme Court nominee and now a Supreme Court Associate Justice, made the above comment in 2001 and then backtracked as if she could put those words back into her mouth.
I resent Sotomayor and the many others who use race, minority status and the poor me attitude to move forward in life without sweat equity. Life isn’t fair and sometimes hard work doesn’t end up as a successful endeavor or riches. Gaming the system isn’t fair to anyone, it only creates an unbalanced playing field for all.
Some have attempted to treat the comments of Sotomayor as not racist, not bigoted, not harmful, not prejudice but simply a comment, a slip of the tongue, an analogy. Sotomayor’s experience isn’t unique to her or to white immigrant men or women only to herself.
In 1913 a white Macedonian male was born in Ohrid, Macedonia to a family of immense poverty. His infancy and very young years were in a war torn country where they had to hide out to survive and barely had food or personal possessions.
When this young boy reached the age of eight his parents managed to put him on a ship to America to join his two older brothers in Gary, Indiana, who left Ohrid a few years earlier and sent tickets to allow him passage. Imagine this young white male who could not speak English, had very little formal education crossing the Atlantic and going through immigration at Ellis Island. He must have had fear running through his veins but his intestinal fortitude helped him survive.
At age fourteen his brother’s forced him to use his second oldest brothers birth certificate to get a job at United States Steel in Gary. It’s hard to believe the employer’s and supervisors didn’t know. Gainfully employed inside this massive industrial complex the young man labored sweeping floors, cleaning out grease pits and doing whatever was demanded of him. He was eventually promoted working his way up the ladder to modest success.
This young man handed over each paycheck to his family helping one brother attend Purdue University to earn an Engineering degree and the other brother to start a dry cleaning and tailoring business.
The young man earned his high school diploma at night and learned to speak and write English at a school for immigrants. He was so proud to be American and so proud of his accomplishments.
In 1935 this young man married, helped bring two boys and one girl into the world. He continued to help his brothers and provide for his immediate family by working shift work in the mills.
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 this young man immediately volunteered for the US Navy. He was told to go home, take care of his family and continue to help make steel for the ensuing war that America would engage in. He was told his contribution to any war effort was needed at home producing finished steel as much as fighting on the front or high seas.
As this young man worked, never missing a day, he compiled 36 years of service at United States Steel’s Sheet and Tin Division in Gary. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and was a family legend for enacting huge family picnics each summer complete with fishing, swimming and boating.
Through hard work and tenacity this gentleman and his wife raised their family, now only two boys as the young daughter met with a tragic accident at age 4 in 1948. They had a tiny brick home, a medium sized boat, 1953 Mercury and a 1960 Ford Fairlane. Their life was modest but the sweat equity and dedication of that white male immigrant allowed for good food, decent clothing, a few vacations and a good environment to grow up in.
In 1964, just short of his 51st birthday the white male immigrant dropped dead on his modest, well manicured front lawn leaving his family devastated. This day was the first day of his 13-week vacation and fishing trip to Kentucky Lake. His three-year old grandson was visiting that afternoon and a granddaughter would be born in 3 months. Three more grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren would never know this wonderful, hard working self-made man’s man.
This towering and massively built gentle giant left the world we know while his meek and wealthy older brothers lived into their nineties. Life isn’t fair but the young immigrant made the most of his shortened life and made permanent positive marks on everyone that knew him.
Death sometimes brings about answers to questions people never bother to ask. The funeral of this middle aged white male immigrant brought forth hundreds of people leaving his family wondering how so many visibly grieving people knew this man. Who were they, where did they all come from? What mark or influence did this man leave on the people who lingered and cried profusely? Who sent the hundreds of flowers? Why did they stand for three hours to enter the funeral home to pay their respects? The family was perplexed and amazed at the immense outpouring of condolence. Inside the church one would think it was a holiday as the people filled the pews and balcony. It was standing room only. This was a hardworking steel worker, a simple person not a public figure well known to the masses.
It later became known that seven plaques honoring a steel rolling crew at United States Steel Sheet and Tin division were riveted in a place of honor near the production line with the white male immigrants name stamped in bold letters signifying how this leader set records in production that would never be equaled or surpassed. There was no formal presentation, no parade, nothing in the local newspapers, no fanfare.
In fact, one person familiar with the production facility said orders today aren’t even as high as the production numbers on the plaques and if they did receive requests for those quantities they couldn’t be met in time if at all nor would the quality come close.
From a terrified eight-year old boy who grew up surrounded by poverty and war to a foreign land of promise and the mills of a steel giant this young giant among men was a white male immigrant who never let his thick Macedonian accent stop him from the prejudice he faced or a middle class life for himself and his family.
Sonia Sotomayor, Barack Hussein Obama and others who want redistribution of wealth, affirmative action and resent the white American male, including immigrants, couldn’t carry water for the white immigrant male in this story or others like him, who helped build the American industrial revolution and a way of life through sweat and hard work with no complaints and never asking for a shortcut.
This white male immigrant left a simple legacy that too few today understand or are willing to follow. His family was taught to get an education, work hard and don’t ask for something but to go out and earn it. Live free and take personal advantage of the opportunities that exist in a free and law abiding nation where people take pride in individualism.
This man was unique to me only as my father (pictured at age 21) not as a white male immigrant. The United States of America is full of them, all unique in their own way.
My father, born in Macedonia, self-made in America with no entitlements and no free lunch, only free to choose. Indeed!
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