Huddled Masses

For some time I have dedicated my blog to book reviews. I have stayed away from “political” issues. There may be people who view this blog as political. What I am addressing are the issues of humanity and injustice.

Plymouth RockIn 1620 Pilgrims from England landed in what has become the United States of America seeking religious freedom. The key word there is “freedom”. The freedom to worship as they believed. In many ways that set the foundation for what America came to represent. We are supposed to be a country where freedom and justice are celebrated.

As a country, we have faced many challenges to those rights. We have always strived to find the path to equality for all; for the rights of all to be respected without causing harm to others. That is not an easy challenge, and we have struggled to be fair. Above all, we have fought for humane solutions. I won’t go into our failures or mistakes here. Most of us know what those were.

In 1886 France gifted the United States with The Statue of Liberty which the French called “Liberty Enlightening the World”. In 1903 the sonnet The New Colossus by Emma Lazurus inscribed on a bronze plaque and placed in the base of the statue. Statue_of_Liberty

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

                America has represented freedom for generations. The poor, the downtrodden, the tortured and threatened people of less fortunate countries believed America was the land of opportunity. Our country represented the dream of everyman; the hope that through hard work they could succeed; to be free and raise their families in better circumstances. America offered education, jobs, housing, and the freedom to worship as they believed.

 

McAllen Texas
McAllen, Texas

Huddled masses are arriving at our borders daily. Huddled masses of men, women, and children escaping horrific conditions in countries where children are kidnapped from their families to be pressed into gangs, where women are raped or sold into sex slavery, where men are demanded to pay for the safety of their wives and children. They arrive at our borders desperately seeking the freedoms they have been told America offers all beleaguered people. What do they find?

Babies and small children are ripped from their parents and sent to separate locations with no idea why or where their familes are. Hoping to escape the persecutions of their birth countries, parents face the torment of losing their children; children face the terror of being taken from the safety of their families to be locked up with other children. Babies cry for their mothers, surrounded by strangers.

caged
“But when they opened the door, we saw around 20 to 30 10-year-old boys in one of these chain-link enclosures, and they were crying and screaming and asking for their mothers,” she ( Marsha Griffin) told AFP

Parents beg for news of their children, children they trekked hundreds of miles to protect. Instead of finding freedom they find a new kind of horror. Babies and children are caged with strangers, other children who may not even speak the same language, adults who can give no response to their pleas for their mothers.

 

Ask yourself, is this what you believe America is? Are these the people referred to when Trump spoke of immigrants from Mexico saying, “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Are these babies and children criminals smuggling drugs? Are all people who come from south of our American borders Mexican?

 

AP-Immigration-Protests
Activists gather to protest the Trump administration’s approach to illegal border crossings and separation of children from immigrant parents in Washington. (Photo: Alex Brandon, AP)

I have watched the throngs of true Americans, patriots who understand what America stands for, filling the streets to protest the inhumane treatment of those seeking asylum. We have all come to America from other shores, either through our parents, grandparents or further back. In truth, we are all immigrants. We were once the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free “. This is NOT an issue of Republicans versus Democrats, or right versus left, black/brown versus white. This is an issue of humanity.

The Trump administration offers no solution for reuniting these torn families. This is not about a wall, immigration reform, or border safety. This is about a type of terrorism Americans would protest against if it occurred in another country. Instead, we are protesting these inhuman actions within our own borders, under our own flag, in the shadow of Lady Liberty’s lamp.

Yes, we MUST take to the streets to protest, we MUST use our votes to remove from office those who tred on the Constitution and all that makes America “the golden door” desperately sought by the “wretched refuse “.

I encourage all Americans to peacefully demonstrate against this administration and the actions it is taking that strays far from the tenets on which our country was built.  We cannot allow our political leaders to run away from this issue, to base their actions on their party’s childish battles. Until they put aside their political ambitions and once again represent our contry in a humane and just manner, channelling the beliefs on which we were founded as a nation, we will rise up. We will stand shoulder to shoulder and raise our joint voices. We cannot and will not rest until America once again lives up to her standards of freedom, justice, and equality for all. We will once again become the great melting pot, where all religions, all races, all colors are given the opportunity to realize the American dream and join us in being a strong and fair nation.

(Cover Photo: Rudy Gutierrez  El Paso Times @EPShoot01)

 

2 thoughts on “Huddled Masses

  1. I’m not American, but even to me, an outsider, the words inscribed on your Statue of Liberty brought a lump to my throat. This is about humanity, and the fight that’s being fought in American echoes around the world because there are Refugees in Europe and there are Refugees in South East Asia. And there will be more Refugees coming as Climate Change bites, destroying the homes of people in the Pacific. The waves of Refugees are not going to stop so it’s up to all of us to find a humane, compassionate way to re-home all Refugees, wherever they may be.

  2. I agree. A thoughtful call to embrace the freedoms and values that America has always stood for. I hope that we continue to speak up for dignity, freedom, respect, and compassion.

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