With Out Papers

I am Americanized. My family came from Italy and Ireland. The lineages, as far as the research tells, put my folks here in the 1870s.

I got my papers. I would not dare say that for all my folks — I wasn’t there.

Fifty years ago, when comedians could use ethnicity as part of their art, epithets could be used as the butt of jokes. (Don’t worry, I am not going to go Don Rickels here.)

Before that, Chico Marx (please tell me you have watched the Marx Brothers movies) was a send up Italians.

Italians were known as WOPs — With Out Papers.

Think about that today. Italian-Americans were known for big loud families — With Out Papers.

Some of those Italian families had names like Scalia or Alito.

We have an immigration issue here today. People will risk their lives to get here to become part of the bigger, louder American Family.

The problem isn’t that these people are coming here — the problem is we have part of our family who have forgotten what it was like to be Italian (or whatever group YOU come from). This part of our family is acting like OUR parents and grandparents never existed. They are happy to celebrate their stock coming from the old country. The grandiose generosity of OUR group always having open arms. Those values of sacrifice that got THEIR generation through school. How a parent would work a menial job or jobs to keep the large family fed, clothed, housed, and most importantly, at least for the pontificator, educated.

How many apples in that great family tree were With Out Papers, you know, WOPs? They seem to forget that. They are too busy pulling the ladder up, the one all the ancestors climbed. Once pulled up, they are recycling the parts of that ladder into soapboxes, to put America a little further out of reach for the next group.

President Obama is going to tackle immigration. Maybe some of the smart guys left in the White House can figure out how to play the ancestor card. Would the parents and grandparents of those McCarthys, McConnells, Ryans, Cruzes, Walorskis, Kings, Pompeos, Fitzpatricks, Palazzos, Rubios, LoBiondos, Toomeys, Boehner’s or Barlettas approve of the way THEIR offspring are treating people — people who are really in trouble sometimes — who are coming here.

Our immigration problem isn’t that people are coming here. The problem is the previous WOPs raised some ingrates who forgot who they are and where they REALLY came from.

Maybe we visit the cemeteries and put a microphone near a headstone to hear the admonishments? Can we hear the stories of how they made it here?

Then compare it to our current generation of WOPs?

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