At a time when so many people from all walks of life, both in our country and around the world, seem to be demonstrating their worst selves, I read about a group of approximately 60 adults who stood in the blazing Texas sun between their hometown of McAllen and the Mexican border. They bore signs to welcome Central American children who have traveled wild distances to escape life-threatening poverty and continual violence. The rally, which included an interfaith prayer vigil, was mounted as a political statement to refute the hideous condemnation of these children – let me repeat that, condemnation of children – prevalent in right-wing anti-immigration groups, whose members seem to forget that if their ancestors had run into people like them when they emigrated to our soil, they’d still be wherever their ancestors came from.
The signs, in both English and in Spanish, carried messages like, “They May Not Speak English but They Understand Hate,” “Migration is the American Way,” “USA Defendo por Como Tratamos los Inmigantes,” “Don’t Send Children Back To Drug Lords,” and one which presented me with an opportunity for doubt, “All Religions Believe in Justice.” Let’s face it, the right wing’s hideous condemnation, handwritten on their signs when they demonstrate, comes even from preachers speaking to their flocks, who use God to justify their striving for a white America, or twist Jesus’ words to fit their bigoted needs, while calling themselves good Christians. I call them Godless.
What We Can Do :
- Eschew bigotry
- Let our representatives, from national to local, know that we will not tolerate divisiveness and prejudice
- Welcome immigrants with open arms and welcome signs
- Support the President’s Immigration policies or send him your good ideas
Either that, or return the Statue of Liberty to the French. If we don’t mend our ways we will lose our right to use the words of Emma Lazarus that are emblazoned on the base of Lady Liberty:
“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-tossed, to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”