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  • We entered through the door, and Nonna was in the kitchen, laboring over today’s meal as she had been since 7am. The rest of my family had already arrived, and we were greeted by roars of merriment in typical Italian fashion. I took my usual seat between my two cousins, Charles and Laura. They are the closest to each other in age than anyone else on my mom’s side, and are brother and sister in a family of six. Their family is the largest presence at these gatherings, and they were already in heated debate when I took my seat.

    “So you’re saying,” Laura continued, “even though some cops are corrupt, we shouldn’t assume they all are. But because a few of the refugees are terrorists, we should treat them all as terrorists? That’s hypocritical!”

    “Yep.” Charles’ tone was dead serious. He didn’t seem to care at all.

    “We should be helping everyone we can. You can’t seriously suggest that we deny the vast majority of scared, honest people who just need safety,” Laura pleaded. “We need to let them in.”

    Already fed up with the conversation, Charles fired back: “If we do, Americans will need help. I’m glad I have my gun.”

    We sat in silence. I am confused, what makes us American?

    Nonna interrupted, “Do you not like it? Di più, have more!” Of course we liked it. We got up, and out of curiosity I asked Charles why he needed that gun. He answered without hesitation, “To protect myself from the Muslims.”

    Charles is a graduate of a college in Maryland, he has a business degree. Laura finished as a Biologist from Elizabethtown. He is voting for Trump no matter what, and she, Bernie Sanders. We filled our plates and returned to our seats.
    “You think socialism will solve our problems? You think we can make everything free, pay all the drug addicts welfare, and raise the minimum wage so that people who think fry cooking is a profession can live off of it for forever? Yeah, let’s teach people that they can just piggy back on everyone else.” According to Bernie himself, he is a democratic socialist, but Charles couldn’t tell you that.

    Laura remained firm, “It’ll happen.” But Charles wasn’t convinced, “Well how could Bernie do it?” I added by inquiring as to why she had so much faith in Bernie.

    “I don’t know,” she responded, “I just trust him.”

    The clock awoke, 8pm this time. The meal was over, but Nonna passed out fruit. “Mangia, mangia!” she said in her thick Italian accent. She spent years surrounded by American citizens in the sweat shop, but she still refused to lose that accent. She and Pop-pop lived in Ortucchio, at that time just a village twenty minutes outside of Rome, until they were college age. I’ve gathered a lot about that village and its lack of opportunities… and flushable toilets. They were running too.

    I walked outside for some fresh air, and the voices of Charles, Laura, and Nonna followed me. I struggled with who I should vote for; I’m still not sure. Everyone else sure was. Bad judgement and frustrated thoughts swirled around in my head.

    “This is do or die for America,” “If we elect […] we’re doomed.”

    Ha detto l’impaziente.

    “Say the impatient,” who are so quick to deny their past, who so willingly hand over the future that, whether or not they realize it, is their responsibility to create.
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