Pete Hamill and the American Vision

Leave it to Brooklyn native Pete Hamill to nail why immigrants are now and have always been the bedrock of our country. The son of two Irish immigrants, this second generation American writer knows first hand what it’s like to be the benefactor of hard-working parents who sacrificed their youth to make it here so their kids can make it anywhere. Last night, a standing room only crowd warmed ourselves to Mr. Hamill’s American Vision at the Tenement Museum.

Mr. Hamill’s American Vision rightly adjusts the American Dream, taking us from the ephemeral to the tangible, a pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps work ethic that most immigrants who ever came here subscribed to. Because they had to. And just as it was, so it is today. Except many of those tax paying workers (or their children) who do not have legal status, can have their vision stripped from them regardless of the contributions made to this country. Meanwhile, those that are just a few degrees separation from where today’s first and second generation immigrants are standing, rant about having jobs stolen from under them (as one man in attendance argued, mind you he is not now nor has ever been working in some cramped kitchen at all hours for minimum–or less–wage). Methinks Americans should do a bit more reading of our history.

A vision of Pete Hamill at the Tenement Museum. C. Nelson, 2010.


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