January 16, 2017
In the hurly-burly of what promises to be an interesting first year of the Trump administration, we are fascinated by this concept of who is a real American. Diversity is a social concept, made political only because it may well determine how people vote. But being an "American", it seems to us, is not a "concept" at all. It's something that's concrete, real and not capable of being misunderstood. You might not like some Americans, but that doesn't make them any less Americans.
An American, we think, is someone who lives in America not because he has to, but because he wants to. Getting in to America may be hard for some, but leaving is easy. Just go. While being an American citizen surely makes you an American, citizenship is not a requirement for being an American. Just ask some of our grandparents. No, being an American is deeper than citizenship to us; as deep as the heart and soul of a man. It's deeper than freedom, because goodness knows, there are Americans who were slaves and Americans who were not allowed to vote or own property, either because of their gender or their religion. They were certainly no less Americans; sometimes, they were even more.
On January 11, 1775, Francis Salvador, a Jew who had settled in South Carolina and could not vote or legally hold office because of his religion, was elected to the South Carolina Provincial Congress. He was the first of his religion to ever hold elected office in America. He used that office to champion the cause of indepen-
dence from Britain, his homeland. On July 1, 1776, Salvador, now in the South Carolina Militia, rode to warn backcountry settlements of the impending attack of Cherokee elements who had allied with the British, giving him the nickname of the "Southern Paul Revere." Within a month, however, Salvador would be killed, ambushed by a group of Cherokees and their British handlers. He was 27 years old and, fighting in the backcountry, probably never learned that his own South Carolina delegation had indeed followed his advice in Philadelphia and voted for independence.
You can't define an American by who he was, only by who he is. After all, we don't all think or even look alike. Besides, none of that really matters. Not to a real American, anyway.
Look, once and for all, this Labor Law 240(1) thing is not that all-fired difficult. We sometimes scratch our heads to figure out why motion courts bend over backwards to find wrinkles in a cloth which has none. Of course, usually when one see blemishes in a piece of goods that has none, an ulterior motive is at hand, such as trying to buy something for less than its worth.
What else could explain Garcia v. The Church of St. Joseph of the Holy Family of the City of New York, 2017 NY Slip Op 00239 (1st Dep't 1/12/17). Plaintiff was an electrician working in the attic of defendant