Sometimes you know only one story, in the case of Russia; I know infinitely more than one.
Today I’d like to tell you a couple of stories, put some flesh and blood on them and hopefully help you distinguish between reality and stereotype.
Every year about 20,000 Russian university students come to the US on the Summer Work & Travel program.
These are actual authorized young people who have gone through a long and sometimes expensive application process. They wish to work legally in the US for the summer, meet new friends and get a chance to visit some different places in America.
These are my university students and I’m damned proud of them. Any one of them would be a great addition to the culture of the U.S., but they will return to Russia at the end of the summer.
We are force fed so much crap today about the plight of the poor illegal immigrants in America, talked about as though they are just overflowing with virtue. Personally, I favor a big ass fence at the southern border of the U.S. with dogs, drones and machine gun nests just beyond, in the event that someone makes it past, or under the fence. I find no virtue with this type of immigrant, and by this I mean an illegal.
These students arrive at the American shores in a legal fashion, thus respecting the laws of my country and I respect them for doing so.
The sun has just risen, though it is not yet full light. The air outside is a chilly 35 degrees F in spite of the fact that it is already late April. This IS Russia.
The Consulate building is made of red brick and about 5 stories tall, it’s not at all non descript, but actually very unique with lots of architectural nooks and crannies built into the façade. I look and see a unique building, but I don’t see the gargoyles on the roof as Russian do as they wait for their turn.
I want you to hear the voices of my students as they are waiting outside the Consulate for their turn to proceed to the waiting room. There is no covered area and you are subject to the weather conditions that exist at that time as you wait to be called two by two into the Consulate building to be processed and interviewed.