Regarding my article, "Born American, but in the Wrong Place," a reader comments:
What if somebody was born in America and felt that he was born in the wrong place? Then you guys would be all over this person proclaiming him to be dangerously unpatriotic. So, perhaps the idea of being born in the wrong place is just plain silly. Isn’t Peter Schramm’s self-congratulary piece on being born in the wrong place a slap in the face to all Hungarians who decided to stay and try to defend the country and improve it? After all, they were born in the same place as Schramm and his father. Certainly, things weren’t easy for those who decided to stay and fight. Maybe "born American, but in the wrong place" was just a euphemism for "I give up. We’ll do what’s easier for us, let others decide the fate of our homeland." Why not stay, fight the Communists at every turn, and work for a Hungary that follows the American model?
…I think such "born in the wrong place" claims could simply be used as convenient justifications for disengaging oneself in shaping the future of one’s native country. If it’s all about "accepting an idea(l) as the basis for a political regime," well, those ideas and ideals can and do change. I see "born in the wrong place" as the flipside to the ignorant "America: love it or leave it" mentality.
A response: I fought the communists at every turn after we left, both here and there; and I returned in the Fall of 1989 (and following) to help finish the job, and we did. I am not in debt to Hungary and the Hungarians. I paid and so have "my people" over the centuries. They tried liberalization innumerable times in their history (not only 1956, but 1820’s, 1830’s, 1848, etc). They always failed. The costs were great. Your great-grandfather is a slave, your grandfather is a political prisoner, as is your father. Your family starves. You remain human. You help those who are even worse off than you. You save a few Jews here and there, you risk yourself and yours. You sacrifice a family member here and there. You think, you brood, you act; you always hope and pray. How many generations of this can you take before you "give up?" How many generations before you become one of them (fascists, Nazis, Communists, monarchists, etc), just to feed your family and have a modicum of peace and tranquility in your life? How many generations of noble action are required before you pay your dues? How many generations of sacrifice before you admit that you are not an angel but merely a man? How many generations of slaughter before you say it is more important to be a human being than a "Hungarian"? How many wars do you have to lose--how many souls debased or extinguished--before you say enough? This is why we all want to come here, and no one (almost no one) ever leaves. God bless this people, and the things for which they stand, and may the country live just so long as there is a mankind. And I am not going to apologize for my love of your people and that on which their freedom is built.