Hurricane Isaac brought mostly rain and some property damage. The dilapidated structure next door ;riddled with termite damage, failed and crushed my roof. It damaged several rafters and roof deck planks. Took out some of my toys and left us a ridiculous mess.

It also brought with it an opportunity I was not expecting and am delighted to share. It introduced me to an interesting fellow we will call Freddy.

Freddy is from Veracruz Mexico. He is about 35 years old and a master craftsman. Polite, professional,talented and a perfect example of why America Is still the last best hope of the world.  Veracruz sits on the gulf of mexico in southern mexico about 2 hours from mexico city. It looks like paradise. Tropical sandy white beaches and blue water. It is a resort town with wealth but rife with corruption.  Freddy cant make a living there. The corrupt mexican government allows those “kingpins” (as freddy calls ’em) to run every permit and construction job. Its described to me as a fiefdom, where the local warlord and his cronies dole out favors upon the serfs and swim in graft and kickbacks as the general population live as peasants. The situation is so bad, Freddy has abandoned his teaching job at some sort of Vo-tech school to come to these United States and make a living. He works with  family here. A son, cousins and an uncle. His wife is there, unwilling to leave her mother and that part of the family behind. Freddy  and the men here support the entire clan with what they earn here but its a constant scheme of skullduggery and concealment from the local criminals who operate with the state’s authority. It is a heartbreaking story of oppression and exploitation. It is also a great story of  moral triumph. Freddy is a good man and rejected the temptation to exploit others for his own comfort. He is so intelligent he could have easily have fallen in with the gangs and been a gang leader. He shows his leadership skill while working his crew. He has rejected that life of crime and traveled to the land of opportunity  where he now teaches his son the craft of homebuilding and the most important lessons a father can teach . That on how to be not just a man of wealth, but a man of value. Those American values of Life , Liberty and the pursuit of happiness is what attracts people like Freddy to these United States. Where still he can ply his trade and provide a vital service. Where he can  be compensated fairly for his labor and operate free from the specter of the state confiscating all of his labor to line their own pockets.

We must be vigilant against those who would undermine our birthright and limit our freedoms as American Citizens.

Freddy may be a mexican citizen but most importantly, he is a shining example of American exceptionalism.