September 25, 2016
I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t a person in the world right now who isn’t at least slightly bewildered if not frightened by the happenings in the U.S. right now concerning the 2016 presidential elections. The intent of this blog never has been and never will be as a political stance. But the experience I’ve in the last two days has been moving enough that I find myself unable to avoid sharing.
I want to preface all of this by saying that I am a Patriot through and through. I love my country. I always have and I always will. We all become misguided at times but it’s important to look at the bigger picture. To put things into perspective from a ten-thousand-foot view. It’s easy to complain about taxes when you have to limit your data plan to make ends meet. But I promise you, for the people in Syria without water right now, their income tax is lowest on the political agenda. I always try to think this way whenever I get frustrated with the politics that have taken hold here. Preface complete.
The topic of concern is immigration. This is obviously an incredibly hot topic in the U.S. right now due to the significantly large divide in belief that seems to exist in America over the correct course of action. These last two days have only led to a deeper reaffirmation of my beliefs on the matter. I’m not going to name names, but if you’ve opened a newspaper or a news website in the last year, you’ll know immediately who I’m talking about.
Two days ago, we arrived in Canada where we’ve been staying with a first generation Turkish immigrant family. Without question, they opened their home to us, me a stranger yet still treated like family. They took us around the beautiful city of Toronto, showing us the many different cultures that exist in unity here. I couldn’t help but be awed by the amount of young first and second generation families that have immigrated here and made a wonderful life for themselves as well as very successfully contributing back to the city that has welcomed them in.
As we walked the streets of Toronto, we talked on many different topics. One of which was what had led to their immigration in the first place, what their future plans were. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this conversation because it was a moving and powerful insight into the bigger picture that a large portion of the U.S. citizens seem to be missing. I asked the husband of this young couple what it was that brought him to leave Turkey and immigrate to Canada in the first place. His response to me, slightly abbreviated was as follows:
“I am from Turkey. I loved Turkey when I was a boy. But the people changed. I love [Canada]. I consider myself to be a Canadian citizen before a Turkish citizen. When I sing the national anthem, I sing it from the heart.”
As simple as this comment was, I found the words to be beautiful. This couple immigrated to Canada separately about a decade ago, met in Canada, married, went to school, found good jobs and very quickly became ideal citizens. The community welcomed them and they welcomed the community, as was the case for all of the many first and second generation immigrants I’ve met in the last two days. It’s an incredible thing to see a community put aside their differences to provide a loving and welcoming home to everyone and the positive impact that has had on the country as a whole.
Take note, America.