Update (May 22, 2010): Rosemay Labonte affirms authorship of the letter and comment below and refutes the Snopes entry. Please check the reader comments attached to this post.
A supposed letter to the editor of the OC Register by Rosemary Labonte has been circulating around the internet. Initially Snopes said the letter was not true. That has now been changed to “Mixture.” First I’ll post the letter that is circulating on the internet. Second, I’ll post the actual comments by Rosemary Labonte on the OC Register website. There are differences but the basic theme is the same.
The letter below is the version circulating on the internet. (H/T to Sandaidh.)
From: “David LaBonte”
My wife, Rosemary, wrote a wonderful letter to the editor of the OC Register which, of course, was not printed. So, I decided to “print” it myself by sending it out on the Internet. Pass it along, if you feel so inclined.
Written in response to a series of letters to the editor in the Orange County Register:
So many letter writers have based their arguments on how this land is made up of immigrants. Ernie Lujan for one, suggests we should tear down the Statue of Liberty because the people now in question aren’t being treated the same as those who passed through Ellis Island and other ports of entry.
Maybe we should turn to our history books and point out to people like Mr. Lujan why today’s American is not willing to accept this new kind of immigrant any longer. Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the United States, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in New York and be documented. Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new American households and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home.
They had waved good bye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity.
Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father fought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany, Italy , France and Japan . None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan . They were defending the United States of America as one people.
When we liberated France , no one in those villages were looking for the French-American or the German American or the Irish American. The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country’s flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl.
And here we are with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes the entitlement card and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country. I’m sorry, that’s not what being an American is all about. I believe that the immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900’s deserve better than that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life. I think they would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags.
And for that suggestion about taking down the Statue of Liberty , it happens to mean a lot to the citizens who are voting on the immigration bill. I wouldn’t start talking about dismantling the United States just yet.
I did find this comment on the OC Register website comment area.
PR skills are lacking
Your editorial said it all: “Waving the Mexican flag is like waving a red flag in front of an angry bull” [“Immigration realities,” Opinion, March 28].
Clearly, all those on the street protesting the purposed shakeup in their illegal lifestyle should hire themselves a new public-relations firm. What they fail to see or advised to do to gain sympathy among Americans is to promote how much they love the U.S. and how grateful they are to be here. Instead of the American red, white and blue being waved in all of their hands, we see a foreign country’s colors. We hear the old tired explanation about working jobs that “Americans” won’t do. Get a new slogan because that one is yesterday’s news.
If you want to live in this country, tell us why you want to live here. Tell us why you think opportunities are better here. Just don’t put an “entitlement” statement with it. Let us know that you will love and defend the U.S. if allowed to become a citizen. Yes, we are a melting pot, but evidently the melting pot is poured into one bowl. That’s where the “United” in United States comes from.
If you want better jobs, then stay in school and work towards that dream. Just like everybody else. You don’t get into college unless you graduate from high school. And right now there is a huge recruitment for Hispanic students to enter college for free or basically nothing. That is something that my kids aren’t entitled to because, their ancestors floated over here from Ireland, Holland and England three centuries ago before the word “entitlement” had been invented.
If you risk dying in the desert to get here, then leave the red, green and white mentality behind you and start the new life you keep claiming you want. In the next walkout march, think about putting this country’s flag, which so many have died for so you could jabber on about “rights,” into your hands and convince the American public you want to remain here for better reasons than what you are now proclaiming.
I submit these to you without comment.