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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Staten Island Ferry Voters

Riding the Staten Island Ferry in New York City's Harbor is a beautiful way to view the Manhattan skyline and The Statue of Liberty. Sailing on board the ferry is also like being in a mini-United Nations.

Families of all "types and stripes" use the ferry for the 5 mile transport between Manhattan and Staten Island.  These families, many with young children in strollers, speak in their vernacular languages while passing time waiting in lines and sailing New York Harbor. While riding the ferry recently during several crossings, I listened to identify languages like Spanish, French, Slavic languages (perhaps Polish), Chinese, other than American accented English (Irish?), Indi (or Tamil), different Asian languages, Tagalog and various American English accents.

Let's just suppose we created a voting district called The Staten Island Ferry.  We're talking about 20 million people a year or 60,000 people a day, says the website.  So, for the sake of creating a voting district, let's say our Staten Island Ferry District includes people on only one crossing.

Based on my observation, I'd say the ferry boats I rode included about five hundred people each crossing, speaking at least six different languages that I could identify, not including American regional English accents.

Again, based on my observations, it's impossible for me to believe the microcosm of America's melting pot represented on the Staten Island Ferry would choose to vote for candidates with right wing extremist views. Although this is only my observed opinion, the families I saw do not look like the type of people who would support a president who raised the rhetorical specter of illegality towards hard working immigrants, like Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul or their followers.

During my observation, I imagined how the Staten Island Ferry riders, while sailing past our amazing gift from France, the beautiful Statue of Liberty, each time they rode, must reflect, as I did, about why they are in New York City, in the first place.

My Italian grandparents made it possible for me to be visiting New York City.  I recall my grandmother, Alessandra Dini telling our family what it meant to see The Statue of Liberty when she and her husband, Eugenio Anselmi, arrived from Italy. She cried while telling the story, in broken English, over and over again.

Millions of other ferry riders could each tell their own compelling stories.

Which is why I simply cannot fathom how the Republican Right Wing Establishment can preach against immigrants. Their own ancestors were among those who saw Lady Liberty in New York Harbor, along with my grandparents.

Although RWE-RWEs (rightwingextremists) use the word "illegals" as a euphemism for their extremist views when referring to immigration, by inference, their labels impugn all immigrants, including my grandparents.

Riding the Staten Island Ferry was an amazingly peaceful experience.  I suspect many of the families who enjoyed the 25 minute ride could tell horror stories about their home countries where people simply don't get along.  It's a miracle to see how all of these diverse populations sit side by side in quiet comfort while riding the Staten Island Ferry.

Prayerfully, I hope this microcosm of America's heritage might flood our patriotic immigrant pride.

Politicians who rail against immigration would never want to hold their election in my Staten Island Ferry voting district.

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