Almost a century ago, my paternal grandfather Pablito de Gracia was among the first Filipinos to come to Hawaii in search of freedom and a better life. I never knew him personally because he died of a heart attack in his early forties, having worked so hard to realize a dream of freedom and personal prosperity that never came to him. On the night Pablito’s heart failed, as he was dying his final thoughts were to use his remaining strength to run to my then-infant father’s crib. He passed away slumped against the rails, uttering the final words “God, please don’t let my son end up like me.”
Like my grandfather, millions of other immigrants throughout our nation’s history came to the United States because they were drawn to the shining promises of economic freedom, the right to personal privacy and the opportunity to pursue happiness without government standing in their way. We have come to call those things “the American Dream” but as the Founding Fathers recognized, they are inalienable rights that all men deserve as beings created in God’s image.
Today’s America brings great dishonor to both the Founding Fathers and men like my grandfather who believed in liberty and the promise of our Republic. Washington DC’s iron fist is squeezing to death our civil liberties and our economic opportunities. We are no longer treated as citizens to be protected and revered but as potential suspects to be monitored and controlled. In a nation whose revolution started with men like Patrick Henry reviling in horror at a man scourged to death for not taking a license, today our government believes it has the right to indefinitely detain without trial and even torture individuals it deems enemies of the state.Details