Can you believe that it is almost the year 2015? For some of you it is probably just the next year on the calendar, but for some of us it is amazing! For those of us who have a few years on the rest of us, this year seems like the future, forever. Remember that I was born in 1939, which means I lived through World War II, the Korean War and of course, Vietnam. I also have fond memories of Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Peter, Paul & Mary and Pete Seegar. I like to think that my memories are mostly good ones and that my life has been quite varied and wonderful! But as I think back, I am surprised to realize that I was living in Vermont and raising my children when many of the major and significant things were happening in our country. As I look back, I am saddened by the fact that I never walked with Dr. Martin Luther King. Nor did I take the time to let my thoughts be known about the Vietnam War. In fact, although I was against the involvement of our country in this war, I never even thought about demonstrating against our soldiers who were returning from being deployed there. As I look back, and I do, I am ashamed that I didn’t take a stand. The war was one thing, but to blame our troops was an abomination!
You ask why am I looking back on all that I should have done instead of being proud of what I did do. Well, I think the reason is that 2015 should and could be a very special year for me and for our country. Try for a moment to forget whether you are a Republican or a Democrat and think about what is being proposed by our President for our country.
For me, this should be a no-brainer and something that should have been taken care of years ago. First and foremost, would you be willing to pick tomatoes or lettuce or some other vegetable that is being grown by huge farms, mostly out west? This is just one of the jobs that most Americans refused to do. It is not only too hard, tedious with long, tortuous hours, but it doesn’t pay well either. But there are people who are willing to harvest those crops for the rest of us. And due to the need for these workers, they come into our country and don’t have citizenship. They try and keep themselves hidden from any and all authorities who try to send them back to their countries of origin. And because they are really a sub-culture, they don’t pay taxes either. So, many families who can’t support themselves in their own poverty stricken countries, come and do these jobs which none of us want to do. And I don’t know about you, but even if I agreed to pick those veggies, I am completely unable and I really don’t think that I ever could.
Now, we are able to make significant changes in our country for these people. We can allow these workers to stay in our country without fear. They can still pick those crops and do the very hard work that our citizens really don’t want to do.
All the major changes in our country since I was born are tremendously significant. I think that we have actually finally begun to live as our ancestors (Pilgrims) hoped for us to live. I know, I know, that none of us here in Vermont want to march on Washington. I just don’t think that, for the most part, is our style. But I do think that we can support the idea that our migrant workers will be able to be documented workers, pay their taxes and prepare to actually become citizens, should they wish to. Doesn’t it make sense to document those who are probably already here? Allow them to continue to pick our crops and do the other jobs that most of us can’t or don’t want to do. And why should you and I pay taxes and because of our ignorant policies, they don’t? Remember, “United We Stand.” Well, let’s make that statement true in the coming year.
I do want to wish you a Happy New Year and hope that we can rally ourselves to make sure that 2015 is one that fulfills the promise of our forefathers. We are so lucky to live in the United States, but we need to demonstrate how lucky we are every single day in 2015.