"There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism...."
--President Teddy Roosevelt, 1915
The Hand that Feeds You
(On the last Fourth of July of the 20th Century)
A Chinese was born and grew up in Cholon, Saigon
Her family made a fortune, living among the rich colony
They had escaped China to the free South Vietnam
Like the Boat People fled Viet Cong to America.
"No, I am not Vietnamese, I am Chinese," she proudly said;
"Oh, I am a Vietnamese refugee..." when she applied for welfare
She returned to Vietnam for a visit -- with dollars
And the priceless American passport, making the locals fall in awe.
"I am a Mexican," he said as if he were a tourist in a wheelchair
The Los Angeles County hospital has taken great care of him
He had an accident in Mexico City, his relatives sponsored him here;
For the benefits, he applied for American citizenship.
"I am Vietnamese-American," my son told his friend
"No, kid, you were born here, you are an American," I said;
"No need to hyphenate, people can tell where your forefathers came from
Be loyal to the hand that feeds us -- life and liberty."
Why could we immigrants leave home for Miss Liberty
But can't take pride in belonging to the Land of the Free?
Linh Duy Vo
July Fourth 1999 ©
© Copyright by Linh Duy Vo. All rights reserved.