Another Great Immigrant Story

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immigrationToday my husband and I checked out of our hotel room upon the conclusion of business meetings in Las Vegas. The bellman spoke with a recognizable accent. I’m always curious about what brings people to the United States and what their impressions are. And so I asked.

His name was Aleko. He was somewhat startled, but the floodgates opened. What followed was astounding and every American needs to know what he said.  “My family and I came from Albania, first to New York City. But I left and came to Nevada in 1997 where a relative told me of the more affordable lifestyle and opportunity. We work hard, but more and more are leaving New York for other places. It’s becoming too expensive.”

Albania has been balkanized and the economy destroyed. Some have come to America via Mexico illegally. He was not one of them, and as with other legal immigrants, there is resentment. I probed further. “Are you seeing anything happening here that is similar to what you left behind in Albania?”

Then he looked at me and stopped the cart loaded with all our luggage. “Yes, absolutely. It’s not good.”

I continued and we walked on through the casino. “Do you think that we are becoming a socialist nation?” His eyes widened and without hesitation he nodded. “Absolutely. It’s becoming communist.”

“Are you concerned?” I asked.

“America is doing what the socialist nations around the world have done,” he explained. And then he stopped the cart again. “But there is one difference between America and the rest.” He paused.

“And what’s that?” I asked.

“American citizens still have guns.”

“Yes, we do. You understand. I’ve met many people from the former Soviet bloc that have said Americans are stupid.” […including the Polish countess who purchased our family home in Hollywood]

As we moved closer to the parking lot, he continued with great energy. “Well, I wouldn’t call second amendmentthem stupid – they just haven’t been through what our people have. And I’ve read the 2nd Amendment. It’s very clear. It’s not about hunting. It’s about protecting your individual rights against a government that would take them away.”

“At least you moved to a western state that is more friendly to liberty,” I said. He was startled. “Nevada? No. Nevada has become very bad.”

“Well, you’re right about that. The unions control Nevada now.”

He agreed. “I listened to Fox today. I’m concerned that some on that station are not as strong as they should be. I think they are afraid.”

I thought, How well I understand that Golden Rule: he who has the gold, rules. Advertisers – or the lack of – can control the message.

During the conference we attended I spoke to a man from Dublin, Ireland. I asked his opinion of

Catalonia Secession Protest
Catalonians protest for secession

the future of the EU. He laughed. “It won’t last more than another five years.”

The problem is that of forcing long-standing, independent nations with divergent cultural histories to unite. When one goes down and it drags the others down, the allegiance isn’t that strong. In a sense, the European Union was balkanized before it began, and now the glue of a common currency doesn’t seem to be able to hold it together. Catalonia’s move to secede from Spain is an evidence of the shaky ground upon which not only the EU stands but Spain itself.

don't mourn balkanize essayLikewise in Albania, a nation that lies in the center of the Balkans, immigration patterns have been “balkanizing” its solidarity as happened to Yugoslavia. But rarely do we hear much about the opportunists that typically incite race and class warfare when they run out of other people’s money. And typically that would be the Marxists, always ready and willing to capitalize on anarchy. The book Don’t Mourn – Balkanize is an example.

Balkans mapWhile at a UN conference in 1995, during the break-up of Yugoslavia, I spoke with a Yugoslavian university professor who explained that the Marxists were the culprits. They burned and destroyed their religious heritage sites in the midst of all the chaos and break-up.

Some say this balkanization is beginning to happen in the US. Gone are the immigration days when everyone wanted to be American.  We’ve been celebrating hyphenated-Americanism for two generations now.  Indeed, Marxists are capitalizing more than ever on the class/race/gender wars this environment provides.

Aleko was so engrossed in our conversation about what’s happening to America, he was about to take a wrong turn, and I had to re-direct him. He laughed and apologized, commenting on how important this is, and then said, “You know, there have only been two guests I’ve helped here in this hotel in the last 15 years that have talked to me about this problem. The other was a Senator’s wife. I think many people aren’t aware or they’re afraid to talk.”

As we stepped into the parking garage elevator, others caught the tail end of our conversation and were all-ears. I cautiously paused until the doors opened.

“Yes, it’s controversial,” I said. It occurred to me that we are truly losing our liberty when you have to be hush-hush about a controversial topic in public. It reminded me of a famous quote by Thomas Jefferson:

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

We talked about government merging with private business and taking it over, the way Stalin came to power. I mentioned my friends from the USSR and how they’ve told me the same thing.

Then I asked, “How many of your people that have come here understand what’s happening?”

“Perhaps only about 50-50. They’re not paying attention. Many of us see it, though. It’s happening. America is becoming a communist nation.”

He spoke English very well. It was clear he worked hard. I felt fairly assured that he was being honest. As we reached the car, I asked if I could have his information to get him on the airwaves so more people could hear what he has to say. I mentioned my daughter had been one of Sean Hannity’s interns. He said, “That would be good. I once helped Sean Hannity with his bags.”

By then we were at the car and loading it up. We paid him an extra tip, and when we exchanged contact information, I knew he had nothing to fear.

I shook his hand. “Thank you, Aleko. I’ll be in touch. Oh, and by the way…you’re a great American.”

He smiled and said, “I’m trying to be.”

God bless the great immigrants in this country who are all “trying to be” great Americans and to pursue that American Dream and assimilate as immigrants of decades past have done. Now…it’s time to get Aleko and other great immigrants on the radio and TV to warn America about “what’s happening” and to defend the universal values of liberty that will keep that American Dream alive. Because immigrant or American-born alike, it will take all of us standing together to keep that “last great hope” standing.