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From Sweat Shop to Law Courts



I got tears and listened last night to Maximo Alvarez and Senator Tim Scott in South Carolina.

My parents escaped tyranny in the Ottoman Empire when they were only five. They grew up in Brooklyn, New York as immigrants who spoke only French, Turkish and Ladino (a version of Spanish used by the Jews who left Spain during the Inquisition). They learned English and left school after third grade to work to support their families. My mother sewed in a sweat shop and made steam clothes. My father worked odd jobs, in restaurants and eventually became a chef with short orders. He met my mother in Brooklyn, both Sephardic Jews, who had escaped from another part of the Ottoman Empire ̵

1; my father from Istanbul in Turkey and my mother from a small town called Monastir in present-day Macedonia. My father, as a small child, saw the Turks riding through the Jewish quarter and chopped off the heads of the Jews as they cycled past. I do not want my children or grandchildren to ever see such horrors. My mother's small town was bombed by Germans and Turks during the First World War. My grandmother hid German soldiers in the attic to protect them from the Turks. They returned 30 years later and drove all the Jews in her city to concentration camps and no one returned when World War II ended.

They both worked hard and were proud to be naturalized as American citizens. They moved to California and my mother became a full-time housewife and mother while my father worked as a cab driver, built Liberty ships during World War II, drove a drywall van, and eventually started his own dry cleaning shop and factory. He worked 18 hours a day to support our little family. We just traveled in his truck. He bought his first car in 1955 and we were the last family in the neighborhood to get a TV. I grew up listening to radio drama and was going to the local cinema to see a movie, 40 cartoons and a series for a nine-centre entry. We would give the theater a penny and get an AbaZaba candy bar as a purpose. The dry cleaning business was successful in an area just north of Watts in Los Angeles. Eventually, my older brother went to the facility and made it his career until he died.

I was the first family member to graduate from college. After graduating, with the Vietnam War vicious, I joined the US Army and gained the experience that gave me a career in law. Instead of being drafted and becoming an infantryman, I became an army of intelligence workers and conducted background checks in southern Illinois. I was never in a fight even though I was involved with local police during the few riots that took place in southern Illinois between 1964 and 1967. I became interested in the law as an investigator and when my employment was up I returned home to Los Angeles, got a job as an insurance adjuster, went to a night camp school, got married and had my first child when I was studying law at night.

I was admitted to the California Law Firm in 1972 and began my career in law less than I did as an adjuster.

I actively practiced law from 1972 to 2015 when I quit my internship and now work as a consultant and expert witness. Even though I am now 78 years old, I still work eight hours a day as a consultant and author of insurance texts and materials. For example, my father taught me that a person who only worked eight hours a day is lazy. I'm old enough now to be lazy.

I have lived, and continue to live, the American dream. I know that if my parents had not immigrated to the United States and become citizens, I would have been born in Monastir or Istanbul in 1942 only to be dragged to a Nazi concentration camp and killed or have my head cut off by a Turk on a white horse, if I were born at all. All the Jews left in the city where my mother was born were drawn by the Nazis and no one returned.

Mr. Alvarez had me in tears last night because his life, fleeing communist Cuba, is the same story as my father who left the Ottoman Empire. Mr. Scott also made me tear up because I was a terrible high school student and was lucky enough to go to a big college. The GI bill allowed me to go to law school at night and my job as an adjuster, even if the salary was small, was enough to support my wife and child until I could start working as a lawyer.

I've had a great life. I have a lovely, loving wife of 52 years and three wonderful children grew into great people who gave us two wonderful grandchildren aged three and 19 years.

I do not want my children and grandchildren to ever experience what their grandmother and grandparents and great-grandparents went through in their home countries or the struggles they went through as young immigrants. No one should be affected by the life created by a totalitarian regime like the Ottoman Empire that my parents escaped or the communist Cuba that Mr. Alvarez escaped. Socialism always results in totalitarianism. The United States, led by Donald J. Trump, in my humble opinion, will never fall into socialism if my family and I have a say in it.

I, as Mr. Scott, came from a poor family – although I was fortunate to have both parents – and became the first person to go from poverty to college and the practice of law in my family.

I will never vote for a person who wants to remove the protection of the US Constitution and every and every amendment to the Constitution. Mr. Scott and Mr. Alvarez strengthened my opinion and I am honored to even come close to being as strong, dedicated and partriotic of them. Everyone should, if they did not watch them live, check the internet and listen to what they have to say carefully.


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