Why I chose America

Are we New American immigrants or foreigners just visiting?

By Emy Delgaudio
Remarks at the Freedom Leadership Conference
July 17, 2013, Northern VA

Let me begin with 41 years ago, on September 17, 1972.  This is a scene from the eyes of a middle class, 9 year old girl in the Philippines.  She could see panic in the streets.  People rushing around.  Fear.  Worry.

The small neighborhood or barangay of a municipality had parked trucks in the middle of the intersection with long lines of people.  Men in military uniforms guarded the trucks and handed out large packages of food to those waiting patiently in long lines.

She could not tell what was going on but this 4th grade schoolgirl knew there was trouble.  When she got home from school she could see the panic had hit there too, with a frantic mother ordering the maid to fetch large baskets and giving her money to run outside.  The little girl heard her mother yelling to the maid “go stand in line at that intersection and use this money to pay for that rice.”

“But Mama” asked the inquisitive girl, we own rice farms and have enough stocks of rice at our own rice mill storage rooms, why buy more rice now?”

The little girl would never forget the effort made by her mom to hide the increasing panic and fear as she said “we are not sure about tomorrow or anything, but this may be the only food we will be able to get for many weeks or even many months.”

The reason I know that little girl would never forget the panic of martial law in the Philippines under dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is that was my mother, and I am the little girl in that story.  By one stroke of the pen on Proclamation number 1081, the Philippines lost its freedom and we had martial law and a dictator.

Americans take so much for granted, from the basic freedom of speech and religion we have, to even being able to go to the store every day and buy any food you need.

In the martial law of Ferdinand Marcos, all those things you take for granted, suddenly seemed to vanish.

I come from a family that was active in standing up against Ferdinand Marcos and against tyranny.  Eight years after that martial law panic I mentioned, my mother, an educator for 24 years, a former school principal, resigned to run against the party of the dictator.  She ran on a slate, but was the only one to win – in her first bid for office.

We take for granted this too here in America – that you can run for office anytime you want.  But in the Philippines like so many other countries, it is not an easy thing to challenge those in power.  Very often, the penalties against you are very severe for even trying.  Businesses are ruined, jobs are lost, families see loved ones hurt, even killed.  You pay a price sometimes, to challenge the government.

I am very proud of my mother and my family.  My parents fed their kids, they spoke out for what was right, they were successful educators.  My mom even beat cancer with a real miracle.  I stand before you today in this great land of good and decent people, thanks to my family.  May God always watch over each of them.

I knew for a very long time, that I wanted to go to America, and that I wanted to find an American husband.  These two ideas were locked together in my mind.

I was delighted to have the chance to work for an American multi-millionaire, as his country manager for the Philippines, where we ran seminars and workshops to teach people how to operate their own profitable, American style business.  Today, I understand that I was learning more about American freedom by reading books and listening to CD’s provided to me by successful American businessmen, than most Americans ever learn in school.

That business is how I met the man I prayed for God to send to me, a man who came and spoke to several of our business groups in the Philippines.  Oh it wasn’t all serious business – he did some scuba diving too.

I learned about the American freedom system and how a free market without the corruption we see in so many other countries, lifts everyone up.

Today, some of the bad things I saw in the Philippines, and which I know are in other countries, threaten to happen to America too.

We have seen emotional demands to set aside the idea of a country of law and of impartial courtrooms, in favor of a demand for mob justice.  Just like we have in other countries.  I chose America, to get away from that.  Do you really want to let them destroy the rule of law in America?

We see demands for amnesty for those who came here illegally, which would also make a mockery of the cherished principle of the rule of law that also made America great and so different from most other countries.  Do you really want to let them trash the rule of law by granting amnesty?

We have seen in America, the politicians reward their friends with money and power, just like we have seen in other countries.  I chose America, to escape that.  Do you want to let them get away with this corruption?

We have seen in America, schemes to use government power to suppress your freedom of speech, such as the use of the IRS to suppress conservatives.  I chose America, to get away from that.  Will you let them get away with this?

I chose America because I thought the freedom to say JESUS out loud, to hear Christmas Carols and the name of our Lord in public schools and public shopping malls, to have your church be left alone by government, was all part of America.  But I am shocked.  That is no longer allowed and our religious freedom is vanishing.  Will you fight to restore our right to practice our own religion without government interference?

Most of all, I chose America for the reason that so impressed Alexander deToqueville, who said America is great, because America is good, but if Americans ever stopped being good, then America would no longer be great.

But today, it is harder and harder to find good people like you, willing to stand up for what is right and what is good.  Will you help expand our ranks, and find more, and bring them to future conferences, put them to work helping us defend freedom?

Where does that good in Americans, come from?

For me, it is really simple.  A figure beloved by many of you, who my husband worked for and set fundraising records in America for, is President Ronald Reagan.

Reagan knew where the goodness in you and Americans came from.  He said what I felt, and said it so well, that I will conclude with his words.  “The Founding Fathers believed that faith in God was the key to our being a good people and America’s becoming a great nation.”

Reagan also said, “…law must be based on a higher law, for a return to traditions and values.”

As we debate the amnesty plan to liberalize American immigration law, I see a lot of name calling and hatred.  It is mostly directed against you, the conservatives who are good, and who want to defend what is great about America.  They call you racists, you who are part of the country which is more welcoming to foreigners than any country on earth.

New Americans made a choice to be here.  They made sacrifices to be here.  They weren’t born as Americans by accident of birth, like most of you.  So let me tell you something about them.

There really are two different groups of immigrants in America today.  One we can call traditional.  They came here to make a new home in America, to raise their children in freedom, to make their way in the land of opportunity and freedom, even as they are proud of their culture and past history of the old country.  Let me simplify, and give them a name.  Immigrants.  New Americans.

A second and newer group are those who call where they came from, “home.”  They want citizenship so they can lock in more of what they call “rights.”  They confuse that words, rights, with benefits.  They really want benefits, not rights.  They think government gives you benefits and they want their share.

Let me simplify this too.  We can call this group, foreigners.  You could also call them invaders.  Long ago, in Mexico, they were called “conquistadors.”  They came for the gold and when they have it, they are going back home.  And if you ask them they will tell you that.

To me, it is really simple.  We need more of the immigrants who want to make America home, and want to build and give and earn.  We need less of the ones who demand benefits, and who think where they came from is their home, and they plan to go back there, and who are really foreigners in your midst.

I chose America as my home.  I chose freedom and opportunity.  I chose the land that has people who are good.  I pray that you will keep, what your founding fathers earned for you with blood, treasure and toil, and what later generations fought to defend.

I know we are all sinners, and the only perfect man walked among us 2000 years ago.  We all as human beings, have a tendency towards evil, but also the ability through the gift of grace, to overcome sin and seek what is right.  Who in the history of the world, does this better than Americans?  That too, is why I chose America.

I ask you to help me appeal to new Americans, and to remind those born here, that as Thomas Paine said, “Virtue is not hereditary.”  Each of us must make a choice, and if it is the wrong choice, America will perish.

I am here today at this Freedom Leadership Conference for the same reason you are – because it is right to defend freedom, because we must stand together or else, if we do not stand together, as another American founding father said, we will die.

As John Adams said, “liberty can no more exist without virtue… than the body can live and move without a soul.”

I chose America because I knew there were good people like you here, prepared to do whatever is necessary, so that evil will not triumph.  I chose America, because I knew that I would be allowed to raise my voice to yours to defend what is good.

And so I conclude with my thanks to you who are good, and who are doing something about it.  And I conclude with an appeal to those who are new Americans.

Speak out for your new home, defend not only our past history, culture, faith and beliefs but also now, here, what is good and right.

Join us, or else, freedom will die.

For us more than anyone else in America, there is no going back, and that more than anything is what marks us as the new Americans.  By choice.  Not by accident of birth.  Thank you, God bless you all, and God bless America.

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