Tadesse’s Taxi

The end of a weekend trip with friends had come to an end. I hailed a taxi and headed to the airport alone.

taxi sign

this way for taxi

Couldn’t help but notice the taxi driver beamed from ear to ear. His bright smile spread across his face in vivid contrast to his dark chocolate skin.

Not sure how our conversation began. His name was Tadesse. He’d immigrated legally to America five years ago. His homeland was Ethiopia, though he had lived in several countries in Africa.

“How do you like America?” I said.

Tadesse told me about his apartment, his family, his job driving his taxi cab. Smiling all the way.

“I like the freedom,” he said, then continued in broken English, “For human being, freedom is the most important.”

Said he wanted to become a citizen. He wanted to vote.

“Here, when no elected,” he said, “there are no guns.”

American flags stars and stripes

stars and stripes

We Americans think our elections are stressful, contentious, raucous, and uncivilized. We take for granted that the challenges we make to power and the changes we turn in our elected leadership usually take place without violence.

Our democratic process, imperfect as it may be, grants us peace.

I said good-bye to Tadesse at the airport. Wished him the best.

One day he will officially become an American. In his heart, he already is.

The Lord gives strength to His people;
the Lord blesses His people with peace. Psalm 29:11 NIV

God is not dead nor does He sleep.

Courage, friends. Please vote on November 6th.

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6 Responses to Tadesse’s Taxi

  1. Beautiful story, Aimee… and something I can really relate to. Being an immigrant, I haven’t been able to vote for 4 years. Not just in America, but not even in Hungary. Our utterly stupid (no better phrase for it) voting rules would require me to register as a foreign absentee voter with my old precinct before every election – do so in person, naturally – then trek down to LA to vote in person on the consulate. It would be relatively easy for me, being in California – but every state west of the line formed by the eastern borders of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South and North Dakota belongs to the LA consulate; and every Hungarian east of this line is supposed to travel to DC to vote.
    A while ago, I wrote a long missive on immigration issues on The Chef Rants, and I specifically mentioned some election issues. I always thought that legal, green-card permanent residents should be able to vote for their local measures and offices, as these people affect their daily lives, even if they are barred from state and federal elections until they become citizens.
    I am glad Hungary does not have gun violence during and after elections… lately, we have been settling for mass protests and demonstrations. I believe it was some 10 or 12 years ago, when one party got to power in a very close race, almost resemblant of Bush v. Gore – and the other party’s supporters blockaded several bridges at Budapest, with the protesters demanding a recount of all votes. A few years later, during a similarly tight election, when this party got re-elected to govern, the opposing parties’ supporters camped out in front of the Parliament building for months, with no sanitation, makeshift mass kitchens, tents pitched over the parks and lawns. Later, this protest turned violent, and they sacked the headquarters of the national TV. During this latter time, my everyday commute lead me past these protesters (through them, if they moved under the alcoves of the nearby Ministry of Agriculture against the rain)… and it wasn’t mostly peaceful protesters, but militiamen from an outlawed paramilitary body, football hooligans, and other select disturbances…. enough for me to be somewhat scared.
    I am incredibly glad and thankful this is not the usual course of action here….!

    • Aimee

      Nusy, I think it may be a tight election this week, but I could be wrong. Everyone needs to remain level-headed and practice sportsmanship–being good winners and good losers.

      How long until you will be a citizen?

      • As long as I can muster up the funds, plus processing times. I hope to be applying by the middle of next year, as I’m not entirely certain if citizenship is required or not for an internship with the county DA’s office…

  2. Beautiful post Aimee! Perfect timing and well said… We have so much to be thankful for here in this Country of ours.