Tag Archives: Statue of Liberty

NYC (2014)

The Manhattan skyline is unmistakable when heading into New York City. The Chrysler Building is easily recognizable, with its unique architectural design, and the Empire State Building is surely familiar to those who’ve seen the classic movie, King Kong. Noticeably missing from the skyline are the Twin Towers, but just as discernible is the recently constructed Freedom Tower that has replaced the former national landmark. I suppose the array of prominent buildings, both old and new, is what distinguishes “The Big Apple’s” impressive skyline from all others in the United States. The old Chrysler Building and the new Freedom Tower were born of different generations (84 years apart), yet both have a storied past although the Freedom Tower undoubtedly conveys a more significant meaning not only to the citizens of New York but to the rest of the world as well.

It is almost impossible for me to fathom New York City coming together as a community and supporting one another during difficult times or when tragedy strikes. However, I witnessed precisely that from afar on Sept. 11th, 2001, and for many months thereafter, in wake of that tragic period in our country’s history. Our nation’s newspapers and television stations portrayed New York as a caring place whose residents were genuinely concerned with the well-being of their fellow man. That admirable quality seemingly has disappeared, or at the very least has been placed on hiatus, probably until another disaster arises. I know this because my family and I just got back from New York. “The City That Never Sleeps” has reverted to an “every man for himself” mentality. Apparently, everyone is very important and has somewhere they need to be, and if you’re a tourist you had better keep up with the fast paced crowds or move clear over to one side.

Shoulder bumping, hip checking, and unfriendly games of “chicken” are not an uncommon sight, and if it’s raining then you just might as well “fa-get-about-it.” The sea of umbrellas only makes the city’s sidewalks that much harder to navigate, and if you don’t lose an eye in the process then you should consider yourself lucky. I’m not so sure a New Yorker wouldn’t be willing to trample a visitor, to their fair city, if given the opportunity. I wasn’t willing to find out, so I purposely was highly aware of my surroundings at all times whilst out among them. I reckon I could give the citizens of New York City the benefit of the doubt and assume not all of them are impolite and self-absorbed. Maybe they were all simply trying to get out of the dreary weather and back to the comforts of their homes and to their awaiting families. Maybe. The only thing possibly more irritating than the rude people occupying the sidewalks was the relentless sound of blaring car horns all day and all night long. Here a beep, there a beep, everywhere a beep beep.

I’ve never seen the kind of hustle and bustle of a big city quite like what I saw on display in New York. I had a nice time in “The Big Apple” nonetheless. I certainly can’t complain about time spent with family. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum was a tasteful tribute to those who perished. The exhibit was educational but mostly sobering. Even now, 13 years later, the entire situation is still so surreal when reflecting on 9/11. The Statue of Liberty is a magnificent sight to behold. My sometimes blasé attitude towards our nation’s freedom was replaced with heartfelt gratitude while standing in her presence. The Rockettes’ Radio City Christmas Spectacular was in a word…spectacular! Five days in New York City was probably the ideal amount of time because on the last day of our vacation the thought of home had never been so enticing.

When my family and I walked out of The Hotel @ Times Square, for the last time, an obvious commotion of some sort was transpiring around us. As we placed our luggage into the vehicle of a local car service, our hotel had arranged to transport us to LaGuardia Airport, the source of the ruckus became crystal clear. Our hired driver was arguing with our hotel manager. Aawkwaard! I’m not entirely sure what the heated discussion was about since I had some trouble dissecting the pair’s Jamaican accents. I understood enough though to know they were threatening physical harm upon one another. Our driver finally got into the vehicle, with his now stunned passengers aboard, but he continued bickering with our hotel manager, who would not retreat from the nearby sidewalk, for what seemed like a lifetime. I was pleasantly shocked when the uncomfortable incident did not end in fisticuffs; however, it did sound as though they scheduled a time for later in the day to finish what was started. What a fittingly perfect ending to our time spent in New York City.


Immigration

This is one of those rare occasions when I don’t have a strong opinion on such a hot topic. Let me rephrase that. I do not have an adamant stance, one way or the other, concerning illegal immigration. I almost always see everything as being black and white, cut and dry, and crystal clear because I often find the “gray area” to be reserved for the uninformed and frequent “flip-floppers.” I pride myself on being informed and listening to both sides of an argument before coming to a definite conclusion on any given matter. In the case of the current illegal immigration debate the answer is not so crystal clear to me since I understand the concerns presented by both sides on the issue at hand. Many times I wish I was serving my country as a congressman, aiding in the decision making process, because most problems can be promptly resolved by simply using basic common sense. This isn’t one of those times.

If we’re completely honest with ourselves we have to admit that our ancestors, at one time or another, migrated to America from numerous other countries, and most of us were just plain lucky to have been born in the greatest country in the world. Even with all her faults, there’s way too many to mention in a single blog, America still stands head and shoulders above the rest, in countless categories, also way too many to mention in a single blog. That’s why everyone wants to come here! However, this country’s population already seems to be at full capacity. That’s probably the reason why foreigners must endure a painstaking process to eventually become U.S Citizens. Apparently our nation no longer welcomes the “tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to breathe free” as is written at the base of the Statue of Liberty. When exploring the topic of illegal immigration I find myself having more questions than finding plausible solutions to the complex problem.

In the not so distant past I viewed illegal immigration as just that – illegal immigration. I was part of the chorus denouncing illegals with the renowned, “what part of illegal don’t they understand.” I thought rounding them all up and sending them back to their homelands seemed like the correct, black and white solution, but I sure didn’t know exactly how that would work. I still don’t. How easy would it be to force millions and millions of undocumented people out of the United States? I do still think something needs to be done about the illegal immigrants crossing the U.S. border from Mexico. Most of them tend to be male adults looking for work and longing to join their wives or girlfriends, and quite possibly their U.S. born children, already living here. Many of them have been sent back only to return time and time again. Would sending away cheap labor hurt our already frail economy? Would legal citizens of this country be willing to fill all of those low paying, manual labor jobs left behind?

We most certainly have a problem with drugs and guns being smuggled into the Southern states of America from Mexico, but the current illegal immigration situation is very different and deserves to be treated as such. The recent wave of illegals are unaccompanied children migrating from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. I see the need for following laws, but I also see the necessity of showing some compassion for these undocumented children. They are purportedly fleeing from the rampant gang violence in their countries and not just into the United States for safety but into other countries as well. I do have a slight problem with the parents, who are choosing to send their children away, but I can at least understand the thought process behind their decision. I cannot fathom trying to raise a child under those extreme conditions, but I am positive I would rather fight by my child’s side than to send him away.

Unfortunately, there invariably seems to be grandstanding idiots, usually from both sides of the political aisle, who are more consumed with advancing their political careers than addressing current issues with any common sense. For example, The Arizona Republic reported that Pinal County Sheriff, Paul Babeu, recently told the media about some children who were caught crossing the Texas border and who were going to be bused to Oracle, Arizona. He then shared the explicit details of the supposed event, and the circus began. Some demonstrators showed up carrying signs, to welcome the children, which read “Return to sender,” and “Stop dumping your illegals here.” As usual, as is the case with most protests, there were protesters protesting the protesters. Sheriff Babeu was right there in the middle of it all, but he insisted he was only there to keep the peace and not as a political photo opportunity.

Likewise, Adam Kwasman, Arizona’s House Representative and congressional candidate, appeared to welcome the free publicity by showing up to the controversial event. As two school buses full of children arrived on the scene they were immediately surrounded by the demonstrators. Mr. Kwasman tweeted, “I was actually able to see some of the children in the buses. The fear on their faces. … This is not compassion.” The funny thing is the busload of migrant children never did show up as predicted by Sheriff Babeu. The pair of buses that did arrive were actually transporting local children to a nearby YMCA day camp. In Mr. Kwasman’s defense, I reckon not every child is excited to spend part of their summer vacation at camp, so there probably were some fearful faces on board the school buses.

Illegal immigration is a serious problem, in the United States, but is typically ignored until election time or when a special circumstance of great magnitude, as is currently the case, is brought to light. Is dealing with this issue worth adding $3.7 billion to our nation’s already inflated deficit as is proposed by President Obama? I wholeheartedly believe the first step in curbing illegal immigration is for the U.S. to rid itself of it’s current stance, albeit bad policy, “if you’re born here, you’re an American.” That principle should only apply to those born in this country with at least one legal parent, but if neither parent is here legally then the child should not have automatic citizenship. Other than my aforementioned proposal, which I believe is long overdue, I won’t even pretend that I know what the proper course of action to take is regarding illegal immigration. As previously stated I seem to have more questions than answers on the subject. I can’t imagine our current elected officials getting this one right, but at least I don’t have to deal with this mess.