June 12: Happy Independence Day, Philippines

With a message to newcomers to America

By Emy Delgaudio, Chairman, Philippine American Heritage Council
at the Freedom Leadership Conference, June 12, 2013

In behalf of Americans of Philippines ancestry, I want to say thank you to all my fellow Americans, on the occasion today, June 12, of the national holiday in my country of origin, the Republic of the Philippines.

For on this day in 1898, the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain was announced, and today is what is called the “National Day” of the Philippines.

This independence from Spain was only won by the Philippines, thanks to the United States.  You see, the Philippine Revolution from Spain started four years earlier, in 1896.  But Independence was not won until the United States had its own Spanish-American War, and when Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish in the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898.

Now, you should be aware that I will be labeled a traitor by some, for telling you this.

Young people who are conservative are also labeled traitors, and so are black conservatives and Hispanic conservatives.  According to the liberals, you simply cannot be black, or Hispanic, or young, or an immigrant to America, without also being a liberal like them.

Just like in many other countries around the world, the great things which America has done, is not in the textbooks, not taught to young people, not known by most.  There is a hatred of America which is taught most often, especially by the intelligentsia.

I saw an example of this last week on Facebook.  A conservative Filipino-American wrote an open letter on Facebook criticizing a Philippines Mayor in what she and I call our country of origin.  Yes, we are both now, new Americans by choice, not like most of you here, Americans by accident of birth.

But oh my.  She was attacked like crazy for referring to the Philippines as her country of origin.  She was called a traitor, for calling America her home.  She wasn’t being loyal, they complained.

I think many people engaged in the debate about illegal immigration today, still do not understand this.  It is a terribly important point.

If you think of the Philippines or Mexico or China as “home” then, you are a foreigner, and I for one, do not care one bit whether you are here illegally, or you are here flegally.

If you don’t intend to live here as I am, proud to be a new American by choice, proud to call America my new home, then you really have no business demanding American citizenship.  And perhaps you ought to go ahead and go back home, if you don’t call this beloved birthplace of freedom in the world, your new home.

This is the only place in the history of the world where most people don’t care where you came from or even how you got here – they care about what you do and say now.

The American civil war decided the issue you know, that it isn’t your birth and your background that decides your future, it isn’t your past that gives you choices in your life.  When the United States defeated the rebels, it settled this issue: it is what you do now, your choice today, which builds your future.

I chose America because I want to be an American.  I love my country of origin and my parents and the friends and relatives and former countrymen I left behind a half world away, and I hold true to the faith they gave me.  I am proud of my heritage.

But if people want citizenship in America and aren’t willing to call this place home, I say, non-Yankee, go home, go away.  How dare you demand citizenship from a country you do not even call home?

People who hate America and have no idea of what freedom is, and no idea how our country of origin the Philippines only won its Independence from Spain thanks to the help of the Americans, jumped all over that lady on Facebook who wrote to criticize the mayor in the Philippines.  They were so mad she called the Philippines her country of origin instead of her home.

The lady understands very well that here in America is our home, and that the Philippines is where we came from.

Some years later, the war that is hardly ever taught in the Philippines, World War II, saw the Japanese conquer my country of origin.  But you know what many older Filipinos will never forget?  They will always remember that General Douglas MacArthur said, as the Americans were being defeated, “I shall return.”

And once again, because that promise was kept, and thanks to the United States of America, the Republic of the Philippines won its independence a second time.

No, this is not what has been taught to younger Filipinos.  America is great for many reasons – foremost because as deToqueville wrote, Americans are good.

But America is also great because she has helped so many countries throughout the world, and it is really sad that this information is kept away from people in the Philippines today, including the ones who came here to America.

America is great, because today, June 12, is also the anniversary of the announcement of the Virginia Bill of Rights.

You know what many new Americans have still not learned, is that contrary to where we came from, here in America, thanks to the Virginians of 237 years ago, the people put chains on government, to restrict and restrain the government.

That idea announced today, 237 years ago, was then copied by Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia several weeks later, on July 4 when the new American Declaration of Independence was announced.  It was copied yet again eleven years later, in 1787, when the Constitution and Bill of Rights was adopted.

My friends, do you realize that too many of our fellow Americans have no idea of this central idea of the American Revolution – that government does not give us our rights but God does?  That government power should be restrained?

So no, it isn’t just many who are new to America, do not understand the whole idea of America, is what this conference embraces in its name: Freedom.

Today, there are over 11 million illegals in America, demanding that their status be made legal. They demand what they call “my rights.”  They demand access to the welfare state, many of them.

And many of the new Americans – and that includes many of those who are here legally as well – refer to their country of origin as home.

We will talk about this in more detail at next month’s Freedom Leadership Conference to be sponsored by American Border Control, with their executive director, Jon Moseley, as the keynote speaker and remarks by Richard Conn.  I hope you have marked your calendar to attend on July 17.  And I hope you will refer several people to attend also.

Next month’s conference will focus on the question of whether or not to legalize the illegals, at the very time the issue will be debated on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

I ask everyone to consider, as this issue comes to the front next month, that it isn’t a question of whether you will welcome foreigners or not.

That is a ridiculous question.  America has always welcomed foreigners, more than any other country on earth.

No, the question instead is this.

Will the new Americans, stop calling themselves foreigners, by instead calling this country their home and the place they came from, their country of origin?

It is time to switch that around and stop branding yourself foreigners, my friends.  Welcome to America, where you have a choice to be an American, or go ahead, continue acting like a foreigner and it serves you right when you are treated as an outsider, a foreigner.

You’ve heard “home is where the heart is.”  Well, I say, home is where you say it is.

Some of us say, America is our new home, and that we are Americans by choice.  Others of us say, the Philippines, or Mexico or some other place, is our home.

I’d say we should hook up a lie detector and ask new Americans demanding citizenship one question: please tell me the name of your home?

That should settle the issue most clearly.  There already IS a path to citizenship.  I’m on it, and anyone who waits their turn, who comes here legally, who fills out the forms and the paperwork and pays the fees and calls America their new home, is already on that path.

And now it is time for me to help adjourn this conference tonight, with a reminder, that freedom is not free.

I thank you for being here and for being part of this new monthly series of the Freedom Leadership Conference.

You know that the small donation we ask at the door does not pay the cost of this monthly conference.  There is work to be done and costs to be paid, to have a conference like this. Those who step up as leaders, are the ones making this happen.

The conference Leadership Council is all of those who attend our monthly conference dinner at 5 PM.  I know that many of you were there at dinner today.  That means you either paid extra to help us pay our bills, or else you paid the dinner cost only but then volunteered your time to help us.

I want to thank those who are the conference leaders.  Those willing to be recognized, may I ask you now, to please stand up so we can thank you?  I know some wish to remain behind the scenes but for those willing, those who were at the dinner earlier, can you please stand up now?  If you attended the dinner tonight and are willing to be recognized, stand up now.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

For everyone else, may I ask you, why not join this leadership group next month?  We will be having a very special dinner at the very fine residence of Richard Conn and his wife Cindy.  My husband and I have visited them and this is really going to be a very nice treat.  Cindy and I are doing the catering and supervising the food preparation so this will be fun.

I hope you mark your calendar for July 17 and plan to be with us that day, not just for the 7 pm conference but also for the 5 PM dinner with keynote speaker, Jon Moseley, coming to speak to us from Florida.

So for those who are new, I hope you will be back as members, and for those who have been with us before I thank you, and hope you will join the conference leadership next month.  It is only $30 if you pay today, and for the next week we will accept that price plus the eventbrite charge if you pay online with your credit card.  The advance price will be $40 or $45 at the door.

Freedom comes with a price tag, and those who helped my country of origin on this date of June 12, win its independence, paid a price.  Those Americans, who helped free the Philippines again from the Japanese during World War II, paid a price.  Americans have always been willing to pay a price to protect freedom.  I am so grateful to America.

And so I call on you now to help us continue to defend Freedom, right here with the monthly Freedom Leadership Conference.  Help us with a donation so we can continue this work, help us by being there at the conference every month, help us by becoming a part of our Leadership Council and attend the dinner next month at 5 PM.

I extend our special thanks to Richard Conn and his wife Cindy for opening their home to us next month, to John Medaris for opening this office space to us, to Ron and to Tom Cranmer and Richard Buck and to all those who have helped us since late last year with this Freedom Leadership Conference.  Thank you, God bless you all, and God bless America.

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