What a heart-warming set of Republican National Convention remarks prepared for delivery by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, picking up on the immigrant-success-story theme the Republicans (and this site) highlighted last night:
In Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Taing family owns the Great American Donut shop. Their family fled war-torn Cambodia to come to this country. My kids and I love to eat doughnuts, so we go there frequently.
The Taings work long hours. Mrs. Taing told us that the family works through the night to make doughnuts. The Taing children have become valedictorians and National Merit Scholars.
The Taings from Cambodia are an American success story so, Mr. President, don't you go telling the Taings: "You didn't build that."
When you say they didn't build it, you insult each and every American who ever got up at the crack of dawn. You insult any American who ever put on overalls or a suit.
You insult any American who ever studied late into the night to become a doctor or a lawyer. You insult the dishwasher, the cook, the waitress.
You insult anyone who has ever dragged themselves out of bed to strive for something better for themselves or their children.
My great grandfather, like many, came to this country in search of the American Dream. No sooner had he stepped off the boat than his father died.
He arrived in Pittsburgh as a teenager with nothing, not a penny. He found the American Dream: not great wealth, but a bit of property in a new land that gave him hope for his children.
In America, as opposed to the old country, success was based on merit. Probably America's greatest asset was that for the first time success was not based on who you were, but on what you did.
My grandfather would live to see his children become doctors, ministers, accountants and professors. He would even live to see one of his sons, a certain congressman from Texas, run for president of the United States of America.
Immigrants have flocked to our shores seeking freedom. Our forbearers came full of hopes and dreams. So consistent and prevalent were these aspirations that they crystallized into a national yearning we call the American Dream.
No other country has a Dream so inextricably associated with the spirit of its people.
In 1982, an American sailor, John Mooney, wrote a letter to his parents that captures the essence of the American Dream:
"Dear Mom and Dad, today we spotted a boat in the water, and we rendered assistance. We picked up 65 Vietnamese refugees. As they approached the ship, they were all waving and trying as best they could to say, 'Hello America sailor! Hello Freedom man!' It's hard to see a boat full of people like that and not get a lump somewhere between chin and bellybutton. And it really makes one proud and glad to be an American. It reminds us all of what America has always been -- a place a man or woman can come to for freedom."
Hung and Thuan Tringh are brothers and friends of mine. They came to America on one of those leaky, overcrowded boats. They were attacked at sea by pirates. Their family's wealth was stolen. Thuan spent a year on a South Pacific island existing on one cup of rice and water each day until he was allowed to come to America. Now both of these men and their families are proud Americans. Hung owns his own business and Thuan manages a large company. They are the American Dream.