Carlos E. Martinez, retired Air Force Brigadier General, worries that the America that adopted him as a child is becoming unrecognizable. He hopes that it is “not too late to put this evil genie back in the bottle.”
In an opinion piece published in the Air Force Times, Martinez discusses the many ways he “assimilated into American society” as a child—from Trick or Treating to playing Little League baseball.
Martinez came to the U.S. at the age of three when his family moved here from Cuba. He became a citizen at age 11. He became a proud member of the Air Force when he was drafted during the Vietnam War.
He also remembers watching the administration changes taking place in Washington:
“We watched many changes of administration—from Republican to Democrat and back. To my family and me it really did not matter which party was in charge. Our lives continued to go on—there was always an orderly transition from administration to administration, because America was a nation of laws and not of personalities.”
But now, Martinez worries about the damage the “current national political atmosphere” is causing to the nation. Recently, he and his family have been told to leave the country—told they don’t belong because they are immigrants. There was even a bounty placed on his head by a “right-wing extremist group.”
Martinez fears the great American experiment may be coming to an end if things don’t change very soon:
“The current national political atmosphere is very damaging to our values and, in turn, to the security of our nation. I fear that unless we act swiftly and determinedly, our Great Experiment could come to an end. History shows how rapidly great civilizations can unravel and meet their demise.”
But he hasn’t yet lost all hope. He believes there is still time to put that “evil genie” back in his bottle:
“We are now at a crossroads. We can continue the recent pattern of un-American behavior exhibited by many, or take a step back, consider the potential consequences of such behavior, and return to civility and respect for the rule of law.”