"Give me you tired, you poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
the wretched refuse of your teeming shores.
Bring these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door. "
Perhaps the rhetoric by Ms. Lazarus is old-fashioned and far out of date, but I find myself wishing the sentiment were true. The words sound so noble and do stir the heart. However, we should stop pretending we mean
You and I both know that folks who were living on these shores at any point in history have never been happy to see newcomers step off the boat. I mean, after the native peoples, we all came from somewhere else. They probably came from somewhere else too, truth be told. You and I may have been born here but about four or five generations back, our ancestors spoke with a strong foreign accent.
Are we who we claim to be or are the Golden Doors a myth? It bears some serious thought.
I am thankful to live here, in the middle of this country founded on basic freedoms, with systems set up for working justice for everyone. I know the system doesn't work as well as it should, and in some cases it hardly works at all. But if we could one day get to the place where individual honor and integrity were a higher priority than money and partisanship, I like to think the system could work well. If we could ever get past our history of racial divisiveness, I believe we could become better than we have ever been.