It is not the America where I chose to live.
Though I was born in Israel, I immigrated to the United States from South Africa where I lived while married.
Growing up in the nascent Jewish Sate, to me, America represented power and wealth. When my well to do family from New York used to arrive on a visit, which was almost annually, the impression they left with me was that life in America is a dream come true to every human being. I secretly wished I was born there and not in Israel.
When the CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) package arrived, twice a year, attributed to the generosity of our family living in New York, containing luxury food items made in the USA that were not available in struggling Israel, in my home they were a real treat. Our family could hardly wait to sink our teeth into these food items that appeared on our dining table on special occasions only.
I carried those memories for years. In 1980 I had the opportunity to visit the United States for the first time. I remember landing at Kennedy Airport, in New York City.
Friendly Americans Treat People Like Friends
The bus driver that drove us from the plane to the terminal greeted me with a pleasant “hi, how are you?” I looked around as I thought he was mistaken taking to me like that; after all I did not know him. Later on I learned that friendly Americans approached everyone in such a manner. I was impressed and felt a sense of home.
I visited Washington DC, and was thrown out of a taxi ride by a dark skin driver when I told him I was from Apartheid South Africa. I visited Las Vegas and attended a concert with my dream singer Frank Sinatra, then the Mid-West, and ended up in California as the last stop. I enjoyed every moment being in America. In California, I saw for the first time a homeless man lying in the street. I was shocked to see that in such a rich America that was even possible, and questioned, why.
I went back to Johannesburg with a determined mind that if South Africa became a political battle ground, because of its segregation policy, and it was heading that way, I will make the United States my future home.
Choosing California As My Haven
When my family nest was dismantled, I chose California as the place I wanted to move to, and raise my son, then ten years old. I arrived in Los Angeles in 1982, and have been a USA citizen since 1987.
Life was good; as good as I made it, and the opportunities were at hand. I became a staunch patriotic American and it felt good, really good. I traveled the country, for work and pleasure, a great deal, and I knew I made the right choice. The United States was the best place on earth to live, and I preached the same to others. No one could attack my adopted homeland.
California Changes, Towards The Third World
Then, gradually, living conditions began to change. California became a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, mostly from Mexico, and standard of living started to deteriorate. Some parts of Los Angeles now resemble third-world Mexico.
We went through the 1992 Rodney King Riots and the city was breaking up. I sensed no difference between Apartheid South Africa and the USA clash of races. I began to question the Affirmative Action law as well. It is nothing but a racist, inequality opportunity law.
I began to figure out the political system in Washington, in general, and in California in particular. I realized how badly the country is managed by the disconnected elite; so much so, that during the George Bush Administration, I resigned from the Republican Party to which I belonged since I became an eligible voter.
The friendly America, the openness of the people took a dramatic change for the worse. Washington adopted the European multiculturalism approach and the dismissal of G-d. Many languages are now spoken and English is no longer the common denominator language all Americans speak and understand. People no longer even make an effort to speak OUR language, English; we make all efforts to speak theirs, to translate every document into other languages, a very divisive tool.
Voting In America, 2012 Style
Today, at the precinct polling place, instructions were posted in many languages, and my eyes had to search for the one I can read and understand, the one in English. That made me feel that America is now up for grabs, for whoever will succeed to have their language dominate our country.
So much has changed since 1984.
The last four years of Obama rule has accelerated the division, the racism, the dislike of one another, going as far as there now is obvious citizens’ antagonism toward one another. One is scared to express one’s feeling or position openly and we now have to mind our Ps and Qs. We have become a politically correct America and telling lies is the common lexicon. We are fast becoming a banana republic America.
People are fast becoming unfriendly and intolerant; that bus driver who first greeted me in New York is a rare commodity today. America is no longer the country I so much fell in love with and so much wanted to be part of; so much so that I am thinking about leaving. But where to if for so many years I considered the United Stated the last fortress for good, freedom and liberty? Where do you go from here? To hell?
I now live in fear and growing uncertainty.
Today’s election is about the meaning and spirit of America. There are still some pockets of that friendly, naive America, but they are fast disappearing.
Casting My Vote
On November 6th, 2012 as soon as I had cast my early morning vote, I wrote:
My November 6th, 2012 Mitzvah
I stood for thirty minutes at my California precinct polling place to vote.
In 2008, as I went to vote for John McCain, I was breathing Obama oxygen while I was in line to vote and all the way home. This year, everyone in line had an enigmatic look on his or her face.
The volunteer who received me at the desk wore the name tag – Barak!
I voted for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and for Elizabeth Emken to take Dianne Feinstein’s seat in the Senate.
I hoped my vote would send a clear message to Washington: stop playing with the citizens’ lives. Stop the malarkey! Perhaps it will be, perhaps not. Only time will tell.
God Bless America and God help us all!