They came down the exit ramp of the plane and stepped on free soil for the first time in their lives. A little three year old girl, her father and mother, and nothing more but the clothes on their backs and the terrifying memories of an escape that to this day, proves the existence of God so miraculous it still seems.
It was October, 1956 and their homeland of Hungary was in chaos. A reform government had been formed headed up by Irme Nagy, whose purging from the Communist party had been rescinded less than a month earlier. Nagy took restrictions off the press and called for free elections, free speech, and economic reforms.
A group of students took the Prime Minister at his word and protested in the streets for more academic freedom. Police opened fire on the demonstrators killing dozens and wounding many more. The next day, members of the police and army joined the demonstrators and confronted Soviet tanks in Parliament Square. The tanks rolled over the crowd, firing indiscriminately killing 12 and wounding 170.
The next day, Nagy threw down the gauntlet to the mighty Soviet empire. He went on the radio and called for “the far-reaching democratization of Hungarian public life, the realisation of a Hungarian road to socialism in accord with our own national characteristics, and the realisation of our lofty national aim: the radical improvement of the workers’ living conditions.”
Nagy wasn’t finished. In a matter of weeks, he freed the imprisoned and tortured Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty, took control of the Hungarian Communist Party, and formed a coalition government that included some non-Communists.
This was too much for Nikita Kruschev who sent in the Red Army and all hell brook loose. There was fighting all over the country as the Hungarian army bravely resisted. But the Hungarians were quickly defeated and Soviet tanks, in a scene that was to become familiar, rolled into Budapest. That’s when the round-ups began. Thousands were executed. Many more thousands arrested and jailed. Nagy himself, after being promised safe passage out of the country from his refuge in the Yugoslavian embassy, was kidnapped, summarily tried, and executed.
The little girl’s father was an officer in the Hungarian air force. One night, hearing that the secret police were down the block arresting a neighbor and knowing that he was probably next, the father took his wife and daughter and began to run. On foot.
They somehow avoided the Soviet patrols and made it out of Budapest. Alternating between walking, hiding, and getting rides from strangers, the trio made their way slowly toward the Hungarian border with Austria. After nearly 3 weeks of exhausting travel, the family showed up at the border tired, hungry, but free of the pursuit of their tormentors.
Austria was only a waystation for most of the nearly 200,000 who fled the nightmare of the Hungarian Uprising. That’s because their ultimate destination was America – a place as far removed from their experience as the surface of the moon. They had been told that America was an evil place full of grasping capitalists and slavemasters who used workers to enrich themselves while keeping them in abject poverty. But they had also heard whispers that America was a wonderful place where it didn’t matter where you came from or who your father was. And that there was opportunity for those willing to grasp it.
From Austria, the family took a train to Berlin where the father got very nervous when he glimpsed Soviet troops patrolling in the Russian sector. But now under the protection of the Americans, the little family could finally begin to relax. In Berlin, they took another train to Bonn where they were issued a visa and residency documents. After a wait of several weeks, they were able to board a plane for the New World. They arrived in Newark on the 17th of December, 1956, officially welcomed into the United States as legal residents.
Today as I write this 10,000 people, mostly from Mexico, are walking across the border as if it didn’t exist which, of course, it doesn’t. The fact that they are Mexican is irrelevant. The fact that American businesses in their desire to keep wages low will welcome them is irrelevant. What matters is the double standard.
The above story is about the family of Zsusanna, the love of my life, who has been in this country now for almost 50 years. For one reason or another – raising her family, being busy with work or one of her many hobbies and causes – she never went through the process to become a citizen. She has now started that process because of what happened yesterday.
Yesterday, I had to comfort her as the Senate Judiciary Committee slapped her in the face by retroactively granting people who willingly and deliberately broke the law, the right to stay in the US without fear of prosecution. What the Senate is saying to millions of people is that they are more deserving, more worthy, than people like my Zsu-Zsu whose horrific escape and flight to freedom was validated when, after going through a torturous bureaucratic process, she and her family were allowed to emigrate. She is not any better than those who sneak like thieves in the night to cross the border. She is upset at what she sees as the injustice of the situation.
Is her lament justified? Most would think probably not. But when she compares what she had to go through to get here legally with today’s immigrant scofflaws having the same thing handed to them on a Congressional platter, she weeps.
What is happening with this flexing of muscles by illegal immigrants is the beginning of a struggle for the soul of this country. Unless something is done to stem the tide now, the kind of rhetoric coming from those who carry signs claiming that California is not United States territory anymore will continue to escalate. And once it goes mainstream, the diversity nuts, the multicultural tyrants, the starry-eyed open borders loons, and guilt-ridden left will coalesce to make that nightmare a reality.
Laugh if you feel the need. But anyone who missed the message at those demonstrations from people who celebrated their separateness from America rather than their solidarity with it should have a bucket of cold water thrown on their pretentious heads. Maybe then they’ll wake up and realize that this battle is not about race, or creed, or ethnicity. It is about the essence of America and whether the country we have known and loved in the past is going to survive another generation.
Would Congress or a Republican administration ever endorse irredentism? The White House and elements of congress already have. The disastrous Akaka Bill aims at creating a race-based, sovereign, territorially-endowed entity in Hawaii, and its precedent would threaten the mainland’s cohesiveness. That Akaka stands a real chance of being enacted is proof Americans need to get a two-handed grip on Washington before the White House and Congress wreck our nation. (HT: Maggies Farm)
Gee. Anyone else want to laugh about giving California back to Mexico?
Bryan Preston has a thorough and superb round-up of student agitation on the issue. The revelation yesterday by Michelle Malkin that the school district was paying for busses to pick kids up who demonstrated off campus was an eye opener. Our tax dollars are being used to agitate for separatism.