Letter from Paul Rako:
[Paul Rako has graciously permitted us to republish the letter that he sent
us about why he supports this lawsuit. -JG]
Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2002 23:55:37 -0700
From: Paul Rako
I commend you in your fight for all Americans' civil rights.
First let me say: I love my country.
Next let me say: I fear my government.
My grandparents came to to this country in the early 1900s. When I was 8 or
9 years old I went to the little cottage behind our house where my mother's
parents lived. I don't remember how it came up but I remember asking Grandpa
why we came to this country. He gave me a look I hadn't seen before or since.
He leaned over and pushed down the lever on his recliner and put his forearms
on his knees and said to me: "Paul, in old country government man see you
walk down street with bundle, he stop you and ask who you are and where you
go. He ask to see identity papers. If he like what in your bundle he take it
and you never see it again. That was Croatia. That was in old country Paul.
But Paul, in America, you walk down the street and you no bother nobody, then
NOBODY BOTHERS YOU. That's why we come to this country Paul. So nobody bothers
us -- because we bother nobody."
John, "So nobody would bother us" is why my grandparents came on
steerage to this country. "So nobody would bother us" is why my grandfather
worked in the coal mines for 29 cents a day. "So nobody would bother us"
is why my grandmother worked in a canvas sweatshop in Cleveland most of her
life. "So nobody would bother us" is why my dad fought in W.W.II and
came back with a silver star. "So nobody would bother us " is why
my friend Preacher went to Vietnam. And John, I can't let our country establish
border crossings and identity checkpoints without at least putting up a small
My only shame is the smallness of my effort in a battle where some gave all.
Give 'em hell soldier.
PS: The reason I love my country so much is that the freedoms here let my family go from Yugoslavian peasants to upper middle class Americans in 3 generations.