Lorins’ Reflections on Becoming a New American…
CAPS: denote my own writing style… I am not screaming (smile.)
Good Bye, Haiti... Hello, America!
Thank you, Mother for depriving yourself of my presence and conspiring with me against my Dad's will to allow me to leave a disastrous Post-Duvalier Haiti... It was the best decision of my life. Thank you Aunt Marie for working with my Mother (your) Sister to accommodate me for the first few years of my life in the States. Thank you, Father for the VISA and for teaching me about the value of FAITH and EDUCATION (two things that I still hold dear) and for understanding that I had to stay in the United States, even if it was against your will. These three people are like mini-gods to me... they gave me the tools that I needed to transition from Haiti to the U.S. right after I turned 14 years of age.
There was a time during which many of my friends and I contemplated and even planned around what it would take to become the President of Haiti. I did ample research on it; registered to vote in Haiti, communicated with many Haitian leaders... and unfortunately, during my last visit to Haiti, I became disheartened and coupled the latter with the fact that there was no DUAL CITIZENSHIP in Haiti (a rather stupid rule for a poor country), I decided that I was APPROACHING the thought of becoming AN AMERICAN as to fully immerse myself into being a full member of the land that allowed me to become who I was meant to be... despite America's flaws, I do feel VERY fortunate to have been given a chance to become this privileged... SO HERE I AM... YUP, finally after a few decades, I have been allowed to become AN AMERICAN. Thank you, America... I'm forever grateful... the year-long-or-so process wasn't easy, but it was FAIR and worthwhile... and hat's what I love about America... Americans strive to be FAIR... and that notion is rooted into the framework of America's top laws rooted in its constitution.
Please allow me to start by asserting that in my opinion “AMERICA” is still the most amazing country on EARTH and I, now, know enough to also assert that my story would not have been possible in any other country in the World (achieving amazing experience and skills in business, law, engineering, education, medicine etc…) From overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles in undergrad as a teenager to going through grad schools as I went through divorces and other testing periods… there is no way I would have been THIS CONFIDENT, DRIVEN and RESOLUTE without my American experience.
God Bless the USA - I'm Proud to be an American~ Lee Greenwood Lyrics
I love Americans of all creed, color, religion and national origin and treasure my American experience… they have all contributed in who I am today. There is something special about being AMERICAN… I actually never knew I’d ever realize what it really means to be American. I had blocked it… I was torn between two nations… one that was my former homeland that I have a love-and-hate relationship with and one that was plagued by a brutal history of bigotry. So, YES – Americans have their flaws, but in the end, Americans, for the most part, abide by the same “operating system”… the “rule of law”, decency and know when “enough is enough.” What may be a slight privilege elsewhere is a right here… in a way, non-Americans may view Americans as “privileged or entitled”, but Americans view themselves simple “AMERICAN”… and darn it, in that case, I decided to become “AMERICAN” too and have never been happier (smile). Immigrants fight hard to acquire what most Americans view as their natural birthrights. Hence, whey meritocracy-or-vetting-based immigration is a great thing for America. America can still be inviting to immigrants without promoting illegal and unchecked immigration. The motivation that Immigrants feel to take advantage of opportunities that many Americans may fail to appreciate is something that America should always take advantage of. However, as advocated in the current administration, immigrants must come here legally!
Anyhow, unless you were a little Frenchie boy from the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, you probably would not understand the contrast I felt from moving from the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere (i.e., Haiti) to the Richest City in the World (i.e., New York) at the young age of 14. I had traveled with Father before from age "11" on, but my final entry was alone and the wisdom that ensued as I navigated High School, engineering undergrad at the age of 17 and NYC streets are incalculable. I started working at 16 and I looked so young that my boss had to require permission for me to work… and by the time I finished undergrad I was working for as many as 12 hours a night and 7 days a week to finish my first engineering degree… but it was POSSIBLE… CHALLENGING… TESTING… YUP many fears and challenges had to be OVERCOME (e.g., language barriers, no green card, being mugged, being called a Frenchie boy… you name it...) But, who cares, I was in America… from wearing blue jeans to being able to attend classes and visiting libraries and bookstores and looking at SKY SCRAPERS and yes, one of the most magnificent buildings that I saw as a messenger in Manhattan was the TRUMP TOWER.
I became interested in finding out about the owner of that amazing tower that set itself apart and found out about the power of owning real estate at a time when now President TRUMP was THE KING OF REAL ESTATE in New York and just like that my interest in real estate ensued and I’d have to lie to say that I don’t admire the President of the United States because I truly know stories about him and his interactions with entrepreneurs and politiicians that have turned losers into winners… He is a fighter. Yes, it’s been a long time coming, but HE IS THE PRESIDENT that induced me to finally DECIDE to become AN AMERICAN. Thank you America and thank you Mr. President!
WOW… one’s ability TO PURSUE HAPPINESS does not always seem to be a right in most other countries on Earth… but whenever I visited America as a child, I felt that Americans had ENOUGH OPPORTUNITIES to so accomplish, and with the right skill sets and motivation ANY AMERICAN can become SUCCESSFUL in anything or something with the right level of FAITH or perseverance or self-discipline… because in America, one has a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT to LIFE, LIBERTY and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS…
The Heart of America -- Demonstrated During the Clinton-Bush-Obama-Trump Era
Of course, America can be an enigmatic MELTING POT. On one hand, many parts of America may remain segregated in many ways, but on the other hand, other parts are UNITED in many ways under certain ideals (life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness) because of the VISION of the FOUNDING FATHERS to induce the constitution to remain a living document via a UNITED NATION under GOD!
Americans are actually very forgiving. They gave a little unknown "womanizing" governor from Little Rock, Arkansas, namely William "Bill" Clinton, a chance to become President of the U.S. (POTUS). And despite the Lewinski scandal (evidence of his continued womanizing) even after he became POTUS, Americans allowed him to remain POTUS for 8 years (2 terms.) American elected 2 Bush gentlemen (Father and Son) as POTUS for a number of 11 years (H.W. Bush for a term, and his son W. Bush for 2 terms), until they got tired of electing a Bush and clearly had no interest in electing Jeb Bush into the Presidency.
Only in America, a country whose highest office had only be led by WHITE MEN, could have allowed a gifted BI-RACIAL (Black and White) young man with ZERO EXECUTIVE EXPERIENCE, named BARRACK HUSSEIN OBAMA to become President. Obama's story is a credit to him and to Americans at large... despite a rather interesting genesis, being raised by White parents and grand parents only, and seemingly rebelling and trying drugs (just like many others did arguably like Bush and Clinton), he ended up in an IV league law school, graduated at the top of his class, became a community organizer in Chicago, and a senator after a previous failed attempt, then eventually the POTUS. His middle name was HUSSEIN as in SADDAM HUSSEIN, and his name sounded both African and Arab concurrently, as in O"S"AMA Bin Laden. Yet, America elected him despite the fears that many Americans had about the things that made him different. Yet, ultimately, most Americans realized that his vision for America or the things that made Americans THE SAME were far more important than the ones that made them different. Obama's presidency wasn't what it was supposed to be for many reasons, but his ascent is a testament to America's heart and his resolve as decent young American man who wanted to make a difference. And America understood him and gave him a chance after W. Bush made a few blunders. He was a gift to Blacks... YUP, in the end a Black family was leading the "WHITE" House that has historically been run by "WHITE" men, many of whom owned slaves and were racist not just towards Blacks, but also any non-White including Arabs, and Obama had both a Black and Muslim past with an Arab sounding name, yet despite the fears of many Americans, he became POTUS. Only in America would that have been possible, proving that Americans do have an amazing heart and also that there is a GOD!!! But there were fears that persevered after Obama got elected (including angry Whites and dissatisfied Blacks, especially Black men like me) and political oppositions ensued and many young Black men were killed senselessly because quite frankly there were Americans that hated young Black men more because there was a presumed Black man in the White House. It was an interesting dynamic to say the least. Blacks felt more empowered and many Whites seemingly felt like they had to take a back seat or even had to watch what they said as to not be labeled racist.
Michael Moore and I were probably two of the first few people who predicted that TRUMP would eventually become POTUS. Any above average intelligence person should have foreseen that the OBAMA ascent into the presidency did indeed isolate a lot of Whites especially those Whites who are in less diverse areas of America. MOREOVER, America had become TOO SOFT POLITICALLY and also TOO POLITICALLY CORRECT; it had lost its BULLY nature, the very one that made it THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD. So, TRUMP, the status quo killer or adjuster, managed to reset one major STATUS QUO: that of "MAKING AMERICAN A BULLY AND A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH... AGAIN". The latter is the other side of America. The non-Obama and non-sugar-coating side. The "there is a new Sheriff in town" side, with which ALLEGIANCE became a requirement as opposed to an option. And of course, there are many Whites, especially racist White males who also feel like the WHITE MAN conquered America to rule over it... and that America is meant to be ruled by a WHITE MAN only... and unfortunately, the latter had been the status quo until Obama surfaced. Thus, in a strange way kind of way, Obama and Trump have something else in common in that they are both status quo destroyers. and BOTH MEN were meant to become POTUS for different reasons.
With OBAMA, America was at an impasse, a paradigm shift in which it was trying to be nice to everyone and silently silence its foes... so much that some racist Whites saw it as "A MISTAKE". I disagree, but they do have the liberty of so assessing based on their own understanding of what America represents. To me it was a dispensation... America needed that period of time... a period of reflection and self-identification. It wasn't as if Mr. Obama intended to so induce, but naturally, political resistance combined with the fears of many Americans that were witnessing a BLACK PRESIDENT or a Non-White one (as some thought he was an Arab operative too) in a country that has historically been viewed as a WHITE-LED country was rather interesting. TRUMP is a businessman, a marketer, and an amazing opportunist. He realized that many Whites felt like they lost their voice when Obama became POTUS. Thus, in the end, he CLEVERLY asserted that HE WAS THEIR VOICE. That was a GENIUS OPPORTUNISTIC MOVE. But as mentioned above, I knew who TRUMP was growing up as an immigrant in NEW YORK and I knew that a MOVEMENT was about to ensue, and I even wrote an article that was entitled "BOTH TRUMP AND OBAMA are great for America."
So, Trump and Obama represent the two sides of the American coin... A charismatic, socialist and compassionate side that can over-empathize with social issues and immigrants a bit too much, and another side that sees America more like bully leader... a land controlled by the "RULE OF LAW", by ORDER, CONSERVATISM, CAPITALISM as opposed to SOCIALISM. Yes, in some ways, that other side has attracted Whites more because Whites see more about America that need to be conserved/maintained because historically it has been a White-male-country. But make no mistakes about it, many other groups disagree with a pure SOCIALIST-STYLE America... a quick look at VENEZUELA, CUBA, CHINA and RUSSIA should indicate that one should stay away from that...
"WIIFM" (what's in it for me) in a free market capitalistic economy in a country run by certain liberties and rules of law that is willing to be both compassionate and ruthless when it has to be has been what has made America great... SOCIALISM or LIBERALISM = NO INCENTIVES... NO HARD WORK... NO VIBRANT ECONOMY. I don't want America to become another VENEZUELA or HAITI (to go from great to so disastrously bad that so many want to escape and go elsewhere.)
So, as I become a U.S. Citizen and OFFICIALLY make America my adopted homeland, I want to remind other immigrants not to have enough AMNESIA as to be ungrateful or to forget WHY they left their homelands to come to America to begin with… Often, many left their homelands for lack of opportunities only to come here to succeed and then criticize America while worshiping the very homelands that let them down. Please DO NOT BE UNGRATEFUL… America is a beacon of HOPE for IMMIGRANTS like me and their appreciation for American opportunities that their homelands did not offer; BUT IMMIGRANTS have the DUTY TO GIVE BACK to AMERICA as well. They also have a duty to have allegiance to this great land and even as they extend themselves to their homeland, they must NOT bind the HAND of America that has been feeding them.
I only decided to become an AMERICAN when I realized what AMERICA TRULY STOOD FOR and what it REALLY MEANT TO ME and countless OTHERS… and when I was prepared to DEFEND America and the LIBERTIES that it affords the many that fled other places to be here... and when I realized that I was MORE LIKE AMERICANS than the people of my former homeland, I realize that I was ready to DESIRE to BE PROUD to become an AMERICAN… and TODAY, I AM so PROUD to say that I am finally AFRICAN-AMERICAN… it is right up to any other major mental achievements that I have ever experienced including that of becoming a FATHER to my amazing CHILDREN. IT IS A BIG EFFING DEAL. It actually TOOK ME by surprise as it is linked with a time OF CLAIRVOYANCE, a time of VISION and PROSPERITY as if becoming AMERICAN itself is linked with becoming CLAIRVOYANT and PROSPEROUS… “YES, let FREEDOM REIGN”… I hear the voice of Dr. King so asserting and I feel it as well.
When I left Haiti a few decades or so ago, I only aspired to leave my former chaotic and under-developed homeland for a more peaceful and developed adopted one in order to become educated. My parents (pastor and designer) had never talked to me about MONEY (except that the love of it is the root of all evil… LOL.) Prior to staying in the U.S., I used to visit it with my Father or late Mother almost yearly, thus needless to say, when Haiti became filled with despair and civil war I had eyes set on amazing AMERICA… America became my MECCA… my BEACON OF HOPE… and despite all of its challenges; there is NO PLACE on EARTH like the good ‘ole U.S. of A.
HAITI – My Dear Former Homeland – It is Time for me to Move on – Time for a Paradigm Shift – Time for me to become American…
I will always hold my Haitian childhood memories dear, but I will always have a LOVE and HATE RELATIONSHIP with Haiti and its leaders. They robbed me of part of childhood, my peace of mind, happiness… I saw things in Haiti as a child for which I should have gotten counseling (including building trembling from machine guns and be-headings and people being burnt alive). Needless to say, I left Haiti with disgust for my former homeland when a decades-old dictatorship had come to a sudden end after a coup was given to Baby Doc (Jean-Claude Duvalier) who had inherited his Father’s dictatorship at the ripe age of 18 after his Father, Papa Doc (Francois Duvalier) a Medical Doctor, passed away. The latter was induced by a former orphan and Catholic priest who authored one of the most interesting movements or uprisings in Human history, inducing the end of the Duvalier regime and eventually catapulting him onto the Haitian presidency but only to be overthrown seemingly too many times. But, that seems to be the norm in my formerly promising former homeland. Aristide learned who truly controlled Haiti the hard way and despite being re-instated by the Clintons he never truly got to effectuate any of his partially SOCIALIST and partially DEMOCRATIC TENDENCIES for Haiti in CAPITALISM controlled World. The Clintons are one of the families who have special interests in Haiti and actually love Haiti for what it means for them and even honeymooned there in their younger years and have companies there and even ran the Clinton Foundation there after the Earthquakes when they upstaged Wyclef Jean’s YELE. Feel free to read between the lines, I don’t want to spoil my article about becoming a CITIZEN of this GREAT NATION with any negativity.
But my dear Haiti, it is time to say that I will only be able to assist AS AN AMERICAN, AN ENTREPRENEUR and a PHILANTHROPIST because when you FORSAKE ME, AMERICAN RESCUED ME… there are amazing Haitians, but the RULE OF LAW is nearly dead in Haiti, while it is well alive in America. Accordingly, for the latter and many other reasons, I have decided to become a proud American…
Having been an immigrant in America for the past few decades is, undoubtedly, one of the top two most ground-breaking experiences of my life.
TODAY, partly thanks to America, I know my life’s mission… one of becoming prosperous only to give it most of it back to mostly Americans, who have been disadvantaged, robbed because of their differences. And to show to the World that one’s biggest blessings often lie in passing the baton, teaching the ropes, sharing the wisdom with those that might have been sidelined even on the basis of race, color, national origin and religion. AMERICA manages to have LAWS to protect them too, and my own laws is to be a MODEL for those who are wealthy and yet haven’t realized that GIVING BACK STRATEGICALLY is one of life’s BIGGEST BLESSINGS and as on has the opportunity to become PROSPEROUS in America, let us not forget that WE MUST ALL BE OUR BROTHERS’/SISTERS’ KEEPERS!
There is no PROUDER AMERICAN than I am… I never thought I would ever be saying that… but FINALLY, I can say, “I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN WHERE AT LEAST I KNOW THAT I AM <<FREE >>…
May God Continue to Bless this Amazing Land… May we hold no grudges for past sins… America does have a brutal past, but even the Founding Fathers were flawed human beings… but they were willing to WORK TOGETHER, something that MEN from my former homeland haven’t been able to do YET… The FEDERALIST PAPERS published by men like Jefferson, Madison to convince people in certain parts of America to give into the IDEA OF A MORE PERFECT UNION and to become THE UNITED STATES… and the finally realization that JIM CROW LAWS had to be abolished… that SLAVERY had to end… that WOMEN and BLACKS had to have the right to own properties and vote to tell you of a young and imperfect yet PROGRESSIVE NATION that is WILLING to CHANGE for the better as CHANGE itself is the ULTIMATE indication of PROGRESS and NON-Stagnancy.
Americans must continue to FORGIVE (But not FORGET…) Americans must LOVE and not HATE… Americans must continue to have FAITH… to remain and become more UNITED!
Limitless Faith in an often limited World... that's the type of Faith that can help make the impossible happen.
I will always owe America a great debt. Thanks for accepting a skinny little Black boy from Haiti within your midst and for allowing me to pursue my initial LOVE… namely LIMITLESS KNOWLEDGE ACQUISITION. My current LOVE may be PROSPERITY and/or WEALTH ACQUISITION but, I promise America to share the WEALTH and to help AMERICA and particular or disadvantaged AMERICANS PROSPER as much as I humanly can.
I have made a few amazing and dear friends in America from all walks of life in the past few decades...
Haitian friends like... Patrick Pierre, Aldyn Brutus, Rosette, Micheline etc...
White American friends like... Arlene, Reed etc...
Hispanic American friends like... Dr. Avelino Gonzalez etc...
Black American friends like... Doug Jackson, Adriana, Mr. Lewis, Dr. Newton and Dr. Pelissier etc...
There are also many other types of American friends that have touched my heart in more ways than one. THANK YOU!
I have treasured BEING AN AMERICAN RESIDENT for far too long... and I am not READY to become TRULY AN AMERICAN FIRST, and a BLACK AMERICAN second... It is one of the happiest things that I have ever done... the process wasn't easy, but I was given a chance in the end to call MYSELF... AMERICAN... trust me, it is a big EFFING DEAL even for a dude like me!
MY RELATED 2015 ARTICLE: BOTH TRUMP AND OBAMA ARE GREAT FOR AMERICA
God Bless the U.S.A.
If tomorrow all the things were gone I worked for all my life And I had to start again With just my children and my wife
I thank my lucky stars To be living here today 'Cause the flag still stands for freedom And they can't take that away
And I'm proud to be an American Where at least I know I'm free And I won't forget the men who died Who gave that right to me And I'd gladly stand up next to you And defend Her still today 'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land God Bless the U.S.A.
From the lakes of Minnesota To the hills of Tennessee Across the plains of Texas From sea to shining sea
From Detroit down to Houston… And New York to L.A. Where's pride in every American heart And it's time we stand and say
That I'm proud to be an American Where at…
IN A RUSH (echoing my Father's writing)... I love you. Mother and Aunt Marie... AND I love you, Reginald and Father... THIS IS FOR YOUR BEAUTIFUL SOULS!
"What a powerful statement! I have been following your posts! As a fellow American I want to welcome you in your newfound citizenship (if indeed it was recent). Very inspiring, particularly coming from someone who sees and shares the flip side of American, the side needing repair, the need for unification. I applaud your efforts to address the needs of those who need direction and opportunity, as well ad your concern that those with the money to burn have the information they need to share it wisely. You inspire me to see the good in America and Americans at a time when there is so much going wrong. Thanks for the post!"
It means a lot to me Margaret U... a quick visit at 10 other countries will remind one of how privileged an American is. It is part of my duty to give Back ti America from an outside the box perspective. Thanks, again! Very Recent!
"Welcome to the club. What took you so long? Were you afraid of being deported by your president, Donald Trump "
LOL, he certainly induced me to question my ALLEGIANCE to America... Then I asked myself... Why shouldn't I be grateful to the land that has fed me for over the past three decades? OR why should I make the former homeland a priority when it has forsaken me and traumatized so many of us to the extent that we had to run away from it? For sure, no POTUS has made me think about this better than TRUMP did to be honest!