Today as this nation votes for President, my thoughts turned to my rights, endowed upon me as an American. I wish to express my gratitude to my new homeland. Thank you America, for accepting me as a citizen and granting me the right to vote.
America has welcomed me ever since I first arrived here many years ago. I am an immigrant, but I am a “real” American. I am not made to feel less deserving, because I was not born here.
O.K. I cannot be President, but that I believe to be fair. But my daughter can be President, or one of my three sons.
I often wonder if I would have felt as welcome if I had chosen to immigrate to another country. Elsewhere in the world I would probably always be viewed as Irish. Acceptance of my children might be dependent upon how Irish their accents sound.
In the United States my status as a true American has never been questioned. I am a fully-fledged, voting American citizen.
I have such fond memories of becoming an American citizen. My co-workers in Daytona Beach, Florida threw me a party the day I returned to work after my citizenship ceremony in Orlando. Everyone hugged me, welcoming me into the fold. Any other country might not consider my children or even my grandchildren as “real” citizens, but here everyone celebrated.
Even if I sound a little different when I talk, call things by different names, or come out with sayings nobody understands, everyone still considers me as American as they are.
And so, as I cast my ballot today, I felt nothing but gratitude towards America. No matter the outcome of the election, I had my say.
And talking of having their say, yesterday my kids cast their ballots at school. They arrived home full of the joys of democracy. They practiced voting as they learned all about the election process. My little girl kept asking me if her candidate is going to win. I explained we will have to wait for the votes to be counted on Tuesday night.
“But what if he doesn’t win?” she pleaded.
Her five-year old brother answered emphatically:
“You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.”
I laughed. But as I thought about his answer, I realized how appropriate these words are.
In a way, that’s what makes this democracy great. No matter the outcome of today’s election, our government will transform or continue based upon the wishes of the people.
“We get what we get, and we don’t throw a fit.”
May God Bless America.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)