Earlier this week, I traveled to Orlando, Fla., for DigitalNow 2012, which is an amazing conference for association professionals. The most pleasant cab driver from Washington Flyer picked me up at my home.
Originally from Pakistan, he immigrated to the US 15 years ago. He received his US citizenship a couple of years back. He wants his 7 year-old son to attend West Point. His naturalization ceremony was held at Thomas Jefferson’s home in Monticello outside of Charlottesville, Va. I cannot think of a more perfect spot than the home of the father of the Declaration of Independence.
I often ask my cab drivers if they seem open to conversation and who often hail from other countries what they miss most about their home. I had a cab driver last December say that, “America was his home” even though he originated from India. What a powerful and moving statement that was.
My conversation this week yielded the same, powerful response: “I have not returned to Pakistan in the 15 years since I left.” Powerful words which testify to why America opens her arms. We were a country founded on immigrants. The Statue of Liberty’s poem holds powerful words for Americans to remember. This is not a post about immigration reform. I am simply reminded by a new American what it means to live in this amazing country:
Anyone can come to America and is offered the chance at a better life. In Pakistan, when we go to a movie, the announcement beforehand reminds everyone to look under our seats for any signs of a bomb. I came from another country and my son has the chance to attend West Point or any other college. There are not many countries in the world where you can argue with your politician and still be alive to tell the story the next day. The founding fathers guaranteed citizen’s rights that many other countries, even now, do not enjoy. The founding fathers were pretty smart.
Well said, my fellow American. Well said.
So remember: It’s your Constitutional right and duty as an American citizen. Get out and vote. I know my cab driver does.