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Friday, February 5, 2010

comments on your words

From: Joan Gaines []
Sent: Friday, February 05, 2010 7:06 AM
Subject: comments on your words
Mr. Tancredo:

My ancestry includes American Indian (Seminole and Cherokee) - I have ancestors that came with the original settlers from England and Wales.  I have a relative who was a distinguished general in the earlier days of this nation.  I have relatives who kept slaves and fought for the South and relatives who fought for the North.  Some of my ancestors came in the waves of Irish immigrants.   

As you can see, my ancestors came from many backgrounds, and while some came here speaking English and Welch (two different languages), some lived here before the English arrived and those relatives spoke their own languages.  

I grew up with children whose ancestors came from Europe, Great Britain, Africa, Mexico and Japan.  I treasure those friendships and what they had to teach me.  I have lived in and traveled through many different parts of the nation and experienced many different cultures within our boarders from the northeast to southern California, from Oregon to Florida.

I learned in school that English became the language of our nation by three votes, and if the vote had changed, me and my relatives would have had to learn German.  I have worked with people who came from Zimbabwe and spoke impeccable English.  I have been in the northeast and heard accents that were very hard to understand from people whose ancestry goes back to the early English immigrants.  In the south, I have heard people speak whose ancestors were English and yet speak with a southern drawl that can be hard for other English speaking people to follow.

I am first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ, and he constantly calls his disciples to welcome the stranger, the alien, reminding all who follow him that our spiritual ancestors were once aliens and strangers.   As a follower of Christ, I am called to hear his words that he came to save people from all nations, cultures and people who speak many different languages.

Your words in a recent speech regarding people who could not speak the word "vote" in English, and your comments about "culture" are sad indeed and degrade my relatives who gave up so much to come to build this land.   Many were born here, many were not.

No matter how anyone disagrees with President Obama's policies, he was born in the United States of America, and your implying that he was not shows either a refusal to accept the truth or a meanness of spirit that seeks to play on prejudice.

 Many, many years ago, a great uncle gave me a book written by a man that worked under Hitler.  I gave the book back to my uncle and told him that I thought it was a book that could only be labeled pornography.  It help up white supremacy; it help up purity of races and it went totally against the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Your words remind me of that book, and while I will always seek for you to have the right to speak those words, I am ashamed that someone who affiliates himself with the Republican Party would voice such prejudice and show a lack of remembrance of your own ancestry - did they come here and learn the languages of the native Indians or did they impose their own language upon others.  Did they always act 100% honorably?  Did they come from one single nation and did they all have the same exact culture?

The "culture" of these United States has never been "one."    We have always been a nation of different people from different backgrounds, different cultures and different faiths.  We have never been a 100% Christian nation, and all of us who claim to be Christians have different backgrounds, cultures, languages and different beliefs in how we are to live out our faith.  

I will add, if those of us who profess to be Christians, including me, did more to truly live as Jesus taught and as he lived, instead of using rhetoric, our nation would be a much different place.  That change would be from living it, not putting praying at football games, nor putting laws on courtroom walls and then have trials that do not live up to those words.

I truly pray that the love of Christ will shower down upon you, and you will remember his words to love as we have been loved by him.

In Christ

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