Peter Shramm is a professor of political science at Ashland University in Ohio. I heard of Shramm through my wife who is a former student at the university. Shramm was born in Hungary, and his family made the decision to leave after the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. Shramm describes a wonderful exchange with his father about the decision to leave for America.
From the headlines we learn that tyranny and oppression are the norm still in many places. We have much to celebrate this Independence Day. Let's continue to work toward a nation that lives up to her ideals.
"But where are we going?" I asked.
"We are going to America," my father said.
"Why America?" I prodded.
"Because, son. We were born Americans, but in the wrong place," he replied.My father said that as naturally as if I had asked him what was the color of the sky. It was so obvious to him why we should head for America. There was really no other option in his mind. What was obvious to him, unfortunately, took me nearly 20 years to learn. But then, I had to "un-learn" a lot of things along the way. How is it that this simple man who had none of the benefits or luxuries of freedom and so-called "education" understood this truth so deeply and so purely and expressed it so beautifully? It has something to do with the self-evidence, as Jefferson put it, of America’s principles. Of course, he hadn’t studied Jefferson or America’s Declaration of Independence, but he had come to know deep in his heart the meaning of tyranny. And he hungered for its opposite. The embodiment of those self-evident truths and of justice in America was an undeniable fact to souls suffering under oppression.
This July 4th read the Declaration of Independence.
Check out the National Archives exhibit on the Declaration.