NEW YORK – Silvia leaned on my kitchen counter and looked at me with sullen eyes, showing me what it looked like to see another American dream go up in smoke.
“I’m going back to Mexico,” she said.
“I am tired of waiting and I am beginning to feel like a fool waiting for someone to do something in this country. I don't believe any of them when they say they care about me anymore. I am done waiting. I don't believe in this country any more,” said Silvia, who is an immigrant from Mexico and here struggling to raise her teenage children.
Some people might think I am overly dramatic, but I believe that one of the best traits a journalist can have is to be able to feel things deeply. For everyone. No matter what side of the story they fall on. So to hear Silva say she had given up on this country, given up on the promise, given up on its political leadership and given up on the ‘dream,” breaks my American heart. Maybe it comes from the fact that I chose to become a citizen and so I take these core American values so seriously.
As if I have the duty to protect them. Like I said, dramatic.
My American heart is all about democracy, and it’s all about dreams. I believe that modern American democracy stands for the notion that we all have voice and that the laws of our country state explicitly that we are all also equal. To have someone living in our country, raising teenagers like me, sharing the same city as I do and feeling ‘invisible,’ as Silvia describes it, is disheartening for my profound sense of what it is to be an American.
Silvia is a Mexican citizen who is an invisible person in this country. In Mexico, at least, Silvia can vote. And she will. Deeply engaged politically, she dreamed of voting in the US. But now the worrisome message is what Silvia will communicate to her three American citizen children. If she does indeed leave.
This country once held her American dream. But our country now is a dream breaker.
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