History: Why Not Learn and Improve Not Regress!
I had the opportunity to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island recently. It was an emotional day; as I looked at the diverse names of immigrants, listened to the stories and looked at the artifacts from journeys completed long ago. Every story reminded me of what a great country we have that so many want to come to seek refuge. Yet, none have had an easy journey. If there was ever a time to visit Lady Liberty and Ellis Island, it is now. The opportunity to reflect, remembering we have been at a crossroads before. The chance to reflect on: why this country was founded; why we are a country of immigrants; why people risk all to come to this country; and why we must not bow down to racist and elitist policies that seek to exclude rather then include. Government policies that stop very short of violating human rights, and appear to exploit those more vulnerable should not be tolerated.
Lady Liberty still stands tall holding her torch as thousands take the ferry to visit. What she stood for over two hundred years ago remains true today--A welcome beacon of hope for the tired, the poor, the persecuted. Yet, as I stood there gazing at her I wondered- what has happened to this nation? Why is the government intent on becoming an unwelcome place, particularly to people of color and those who speak a different language? Why is regression to the past so easily achieved? Why are humans bound to make the same mistakes following faulty leadership? And, of course I ask the inevitable question: Will this nation find its way back to compassion, kindness, civility and caring? Did it ever really have these qualities? Or, was it just tolerance without heart?
As a positive person, I want to believe that the majority of America from coast to coast, are caring, kind and tolerant with a heart. But the events of late where hundreds of children suffer separation form the adults they know at the border give me heart ache.
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddle masses yearning to be free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift up my lamp beside the golden door." ---Emma Lazarus
Those words are what I think about when I look at Lady Liberty, standing in front of her, with thousands of others from almost every country one can name, listening to conversations in multi-languages amongst people of all ages, colors, shapes and sizes. Yet, some media, the Whitehouse, and some in government, speak of isolation, exclusion, and call other human beings aliens, criminals and illegal. As if the heart has been removed from America.
I hope, no, I pray, we continue to unite our voices to ensure justice wins. Yes, we need immigration reform but building walls around all of our borders, alienating our allies, bullying the most vulnerable, and moving the country toward isolation from the world will prove catastrophic not smart in the long run.
This country must come to a place where it faces itself, acknowledging the embedded racism, the elitist attitudes many of us have experienced and the ugly history of supremacy that continues to plague every aspect of our society.