By Ernesto Cullari, also published in the March 15, 2012 edition of the triCityNews
I was 4 years old when my grandfather bought me my first bike. It was fire engine red. During the summer of ‘76 he taught me how to ride that bike and it was with joy and fear that I sought to balance myself on two wheels for the very first time. With one hand on the handlebars and one hand on the back of the seat he would push me, until finally one day he just let me go. I remember feeling thrilled and terrified at the sensation of freedom, it was like sleeping in the dark for the first time with the night-light out. Facing the unknown emboldened me. There are certain joys that we can only know as children: the bonds built with grandparents, triumphs over first fears and the feeling that you come from a uniquely special place, like America.
My grandfather was from the Philippines and during that summer of BBQ’s and fireworks and drive in movie theaters, he often shared with me his joy, his genuine gratitude and happiness with being an American. He didn’t proselytize to me in words. He simply told me what the American Bicentennial was about and the rest of his love for America he shared with me through his actions. He took me everywhere with him.
He often helped Filipino families that had just arrived in America to find work and to network with others that had been here longer and I tagged along with him as he made his rounds in the Filipino communities of East Orange, Union and Piscataway.
My grandfather was not a rich man, by any means, but he owned a home, he owned a car that he bought in cash and he bought and sold various businesses and modest rental properties. He was living the American dream out loud and he allowed me to share the joys of that dream with him.
With that said, I do not recognize the country that we live in today. It bares a striking resemblance to the America that I grew up in, but it is not the same. We live in a time where patriotism must be muted, where faith in God is subject to the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services and where starting a business, no matter how small, requires reams of compliance paperwork, an attorney and several hundred dollars.
John Stossel recently reported that if a child wanted to open up a lemonade stand on the sidewalk that they would have to comply with the following: register with the county clerk as the sole proprietor, apply to the IRS for an Employer Identification Number, Complete 15 hour Food Protection Course, allow three to five weeks for delivery of Food Protection Certificate, Apply for a Temporary Food Service Establishment Permit, buy a portable fire extinguisher, receive a Health Inspection and the list goes on. Government is no longer for the people it is against the people, because it is no longer by the people.
Today government is run by career politicians that make their living not just off a government paycheck, but rather off the inside knowledge that they possess as legislators. The myth exists that because legislators live in the communities that they were elected in that they will legislate in the best interest of their community. Nothing could be further from the truth. Today’s member of Congress makes market decisions that outpace the best market analysts. As a result, the rest of us are struggling to keep our heads over water, we have fallen victim to the greed of a collusive relationship that exists between select corporations and legislators that bend the law to fatten their pocket books. The most corrupt do so behind our backs, while the portfolios of their spouses grow and grow they remain overtly modest.
I desire to live out the freedom that I inherited from my grandfather, I yearn for the days when the shadow of government does not eclipse my dreams, I will worship my God in the way that my soul alone is persuaded and I will fight to make sure that when I am a father that my children inherit these same blessings. It is for these reasons that I announce my intention to represent the Republican Party and the citizens of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties in the race for Congress for the Sixth Congressional District. I am running for Congress and the unknown emboldens me. God-willing we will triumph over our oppressors.
Ernesto Cullari is a candidate for the Republican nomination to Congress from New Jersey’s 6th district
Posted: March 15th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2012 Congressional Races, Ernesto Cullari | Tags: Ernesto Cullari, triCityNews | Comments Off on When We Were Young