Thinking Too Much

I am the grandson of an immigrant from a despised country. My paternal grandfather left Russia, or more likely Belarus in today’s terms to seek a better life in America. He landed here in 1905 and got work in Rochester NY in the men’s clothing industry. He was a cutter, the first step in the process of making a coat is to cut the pattern from the raw material. Eventually he started his own shop cutting men’s coats. The story is long and convoluted and not particularly germane to the next step, My grandmother came over and met him and they married and had my father, Emanuel (Mannie).  Mannie got a Bachelors Degree and Master of Science in Chemistry from the University of Rochester. After serving  in the army in England in WWII, which was after I was born, he started up a a couple of businesses. Ultimately he created Nalge Co to manufacture plastic bottles and other equipment for laboratories of all sorts. You may be familiar with the Nalgene Water Bottle so many people carry around. That was a byproduct of the business. 

His siblings went on to degrees as well, his sister became a nurse and served on the hospital trains from the front in the European Theater and his younger brother graduated from PT Boat training as the war ended. He went on to get a PhD in Physics and has had a remarkable career, he continues to attend meetings now into his 90’s 

Mannie’s two children have advanced degrees and have continued to contribute to the welfare of the communities they belong to. The grandchildren sport PhD’s and and their own successful enterprises. Needless to say the country would be poorer in some small measure had Isadore Goldberg, nee Sklaroff, been prevented from immigrating because he came from a “shit hole” country. 

Another point, drive through Appalachia and you will find people living in conditions no better than those other places he was condemning. Coal miners work the mines because there is no other work for them, not because they love the mines. Take a tour of a mine that has been cleaned up for tourism and tell me how much you would have to be paid to spend your working life down there, and a short life it would be. Read about life in Appalachia and tell me that immigrants from there would be welcome in the country envisioned by him.

I have avoided politics in this blog for a long time. I cannot be silent like the Republican leadership, I cannot contain myself any longer.


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14 thoughts on “Thinking Too Much”

  1. Your grandfather came here to CONTRIBUTE, not to be a leech on the social welfare network that now exists (it didn’t exist at that time). You are comparing apples and oranges…..

    Trump was not talking about the PEOPLE from those countries, but the CONDITIONS that exist there–conditions that ARE, in fact, shitty. Those conditions are what drive people to want to come here. If you don’t like Appalachia, why would you want MORE parts of the US to end up like that?

    The difference is, in your grandfather’s day, immigrants came here (LEGALLY, by the way…..) for exactly the reasons you mentioned–to contribute. I live in an area where third generation kids STILL can’t even speak English, and they are a complete drain on the system. That is not contributing……

    1. They came, without regard to legality, they came because life where they were was intolerable. Those coming today are also not worried about legality, the conditions they are leaving are intolerable. Many are productive members of our society and there are numbers who aren’t. I can same the same for my grandparents generation, many contributed and there were those who took. They did not come here to contribute, they came to survive. The contribution was to give back for the opportunity that was granted. Many Spanish speakers along the Mexican border have been citizens for far longer than my family. They did not immigrate, we seized their land from Mexico in the 1800’s. rYou obviously did not read the last paragraph where the same conditions in those countries persist in our own country and we do nothing to improve them.

  2. The best-educated contingent of immigrants to the US come from…not China, not India, not Norway…but that “shithole country” Nigeria. Nearly a third of them have graduate degrees. They almost certainly did not live in “huts” in Nigeria, and they are very productive members of society as a group.

    1. Bold claim. Assuming that these are LEGAL immirants, show me the data. If you had said China, India, or one or more Middle Eastern countries, then it would be easier to accept despite your lack of objective evidence.

  3. This is not about compassion! The Democrats are using the illegal immigrants as a bargaining chip for political gain. I do not believe that they care one wit about these folks or Congress would have resolved this issue long ago when Barack Hussein Obama was in office.

    “Undocumented immigrant” is a euphemism designed by the Democrats and promulgated strictly to normalize illegal immigration. Why? Not just for the immediate political benefits of putting tens of millions of potential voters on the table, but the long term benefit of maintaining the pipeline of unlimited migration through open borders. Illegal immigrants are criminals who should not simply be granted amnesty, citizenship or voting rights. Visa lotteries and chain migration are not good for our country. LEGAL immigration should be merit based.

    And first we must have BORDER SECURITY. As long as illegal immigrants, drugs and likely terrorists are able to easily enter the US, we will never be secure. President Trump is 100% correct to put AMERICANS first over immigrants from other countries.

    Ever wonder why all of those sexual abusers from Hollywood threatened to leave the country for CANADA (which by the way they did not) when Trump was elected? Why didn’t they threaten to leave for Haiti, Cuba, Yemen, Syria or Bangladesh?

    I call apple sauce on this whole ginned up argument about DACA. The Democrats only care for themselves, and for their own personal gain. Any serious Jew can no longer legitimately call themselves a Democrat, unless you have your head stuck in the sand.

    1. As you well know I cannot agree with much of what you have written, in particular the last sentence Being Jewish is not a political statement. Loving the State of Israel does not mean I must accept all the policies of the government nor does it mean I must accept the policies of our government as appropriate. In brief, the current policies will lead to either a state that is no longer a Jewish majority state or a state that treats a portion of its population as stateless without vote or voice in their government. Neither of these are acceptable to me.

      1. The Reform Movement – which has now just become a branch of the Democratic National Committee, but with more holidays – had an immediate knee jerk reaction to President Trump and the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem announcement – what was it? “now is NOT the time”. After two thousand years?

        Politics has become the religion of the Reform Movement, and that is why I made that statement.

  4. I’m grateful every day that my brave grandparents left everything they knew to risk coming to this country. They did it for the same reasons immigrants do it today. They wanted a better life for themselves and their families. They left dictatorships where they had no civil rights and their religion made them targets. Today, their descendants own successful businesses, are lawyers, doctors, educators, judges, and IT professionals. Much of that was possible because we were able to access public education and work hard.
    The cult that Trump and Bannon built with the Mercer’s money and support of other uber conservatives, anti-choice social conservatives, and bigots have been working hard for 2 generations to restore civil rights and education to pre-Lincoln levels. Keeping a cheap, ignorant, and powerless labor force without voting rights is a major goal.
    The morally bankrupt Republican party is working to implement some of the cruelest policies since the end of feudalism. They want to deprive the most disabled, children, elderly, and other vulnerable populations of the means to live a decent and healthy life. Cloaking their policies in false values such as trickle down economics and freedom of religion, they are trying to eliminate separation of church and state.
    They are willing to support a solipsistic, intellectually incurious, ignorant bully with the emotional intelligence of a naughty 5 year old to advance their own self interests. Party over country for them!
    Trump has disgraced the U. S. presidency for us and shames us daily in the eyes of the world. He admires the authoritarian leaders of other countries and is working hard with the assistance of the Republican leadership to implement that here.
    Appealing to wealthy Jews by seeming to support Israel is a way to raise money. Using people and then refusing to pay is Trump’s modus operandi. Oh wait, he has hired Jewish lawyers and finance experts. Shame on them too. I wonder if he’s paying them. By the way, has anyone seen his taxes? The conflicts of interest between his position and the companies he runs are so obvious!
    Incidentally, I have colleagues from Nigeria who have doctoral degrees, brought family members here, and they have also succeeded admirably.
    I can’t wait for 2018!

    1. Thank you Judy. I hoped I would attract reasoned support as well as disagreement. I appreciate your taking the time to write such a powerful piece.

  5. Paul
    Thank you for starting this conversation. My father was born in a schtetle in Poland. They had nothing. They lived in a2 room shack . They stole potatoes or carrots from a farm field at night to survive. They hid from the locals that would have beat them if they got cought . My grandfather emigrated to Argentina, then Canada, and finally to Buffalo. His family falowed 6 yrs later.
    My dad became a business man . His children all got college degrees. I eventually partnered in a company that that also made plastic bottles. We had 3 plants and employed 350 people. Many came from all over the world and the inner city. Now retired I chair a non profit serving the homeless.
    I guess “shit holes” are a fertile place to breed leaders and doers. They fight to survive and have a true perspective of what life is about.
    I wish that the President had that shit hole perspective instead of his shit head that guides him now.

    1. Jerry, I’d like to see him living in one for a while to test his “genius” and survival skills. My guess is he wouldn’t make it. He doesn’t deal with reality very well.

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your story. My mom came from El Salvador in the mid 60s to better our lives, but civil strife forced us all to emigrate in the 1970s. I’m the youngest of 7, we are all hard working, entrepreneurs, educated, contribute to society, pay our taxes, and we love this beautiful country. I have an MBA, I am a business advisor and enjoy the nomadic lifestyle. I am an independent voter and thinker that, for the most part, avoids topics related to politics, as well as sports and religion because there is always a subjective opinion different than mine. I respect people’s points of view, but recently I find it important to speak out since immigrant bashing and bigotry has become so popular. I, like you, cannot be silent when I can be the voice of the voiceless. “Dissent is highest form of patriotism” – Thomas Jefferson.

    1. Thank you so much for posting to my blog. It means a lot to me to know that people outside my relatively small circle read and respond. Not all agree as you can see from some of the posts below. Tha too is important to me.

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