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Deny Discrimination In America
America was born on the principle of “no taxation without representation” and, thankfully, augmented with the entitlement of religious freedom for all. The premise that “all men are created equal” was encouraged promoting the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for which American soldiers have repeatedly fought and died for. These philosophies are familiar to students schooled here throughout many generations.
America presently finds itself in potentially dangerous times, nothing new to her. Prejudice was at times popularized against the Chinese, Japanese, Africans, Catholic and Protestant Irish, Germans, Puerto Ricans, and Latino immigrants: all of them with the legal right to make America their home though they were not initially welcomed in all neighborhoods. I apologize for not mentioning emigrants from Italy, Korea, Vietnam, and a host of cultures who now call America their home.
While each of these ethnicities struggled on their own to overcome bias and bigotry it was not without a great deal of suffering and discrimination…but they succeeded, for the most part. The fact that racial denigration has time and again been morally and legally diminished by a majority of Americans should prove that prejudice has no long-term place in our society and a right-minded public will eventually abandon it. So, do Americans wish to inflict immoral emotional and even physical harm on people nowadays seeking the freedom and peace of America’s shores?
Do Americans wish to impart the fear of persecution on Muslims, driving them “underground” to meet secretly lest they be dragged into the streets and beaten for their beliefs? That is what happened to the Christians in Rome about 2000 years ago who were forced into the Coliseum to become lion lunchmeat. Is it appropriate to condemn persons of a specific ethnicity or faith to concentration camps because a relative hand-full around the world are troublemakers? Is a return to darker times the best solution to a safe America?
Several hundred years ago the United States stole land from and crushed the cultures of Native Americans, and that same government later incarcerated Japanese/Americans of which, at the time, more than half were U.S. citizens. Hitler rounded up the Jews in Germany and went much further than internment. And a variety of factions all over the world continue to dominate and enslave their rivals. Actions such as these are generally recognized as contrary to our American ideal, yet we now face proposals to ban Muslims from our shores. This is not what America is about. This lowest form of mean-spirited xenophobia should be relegated to the pages of history to be revisited only when studying the inhumanity of it. This type of nationalism is dangerous to our Constitution, our morals, and to us as true patriots of this great country founded on freedom and liberty for all.
The relatively recent hatred, fighting, and killing in the streets of Asia, Egypt, and Indonesia between Christians and Muslims is reprehensible. Both sides are responsible and no one comes out ahead. America must not allow that kind of cruel conflict into our society. Confrontations may begin peacefully but all too often quickly get out of control. The Crusades occurred a thousand years ago and have no place in modern times, certainly not in America. Anyone has the right to speak their mind in support of their beliefs but physical altercations and harassment must never be encouraged. America is comprised of atheists and monotheists and polytheists and proponents of differing lifestyle choices. All of that is who we are and it is not our differences in personal philosophies that rend America’s heart but rather the intolerance of those who choose to violently disallow their dialogue.
America races ahead to her next Presidential election; there is no benefit from candidates who openly approve of, and actually call for, racial bias. It is a disgusting precedent. America needs a leader, and a citizenry, who welcomes the benefits of integration and seeks to unite our country rather than divide the population. Hate-speak pollutes religious and political pulpits and fear-mongering spreads a sick disease among our populace. America must not be afraid of the rest of the world but must seek to work with it. Isolationists pursue 16th-century tenets that are much too impractical and outdated for the present and, more so, the future.
While it is necessary for immigrants to adopt the ways of American society when they choose to join us, it is a shame to witness demands that they abandon entirely the parts of their heritage that could enhance America’s ideals. This country is a melting pot and with a careful and appropriate recipe the resulting stew will contain elements worthy of appreciation. Where would America be without pizza, enchiladas, potatoes, and sushi? Variety of ingredients can constitute a more interesting concoction for all to enjoy.
Keep those gates open for those who seek a better and more peaceful life for themselves and their families. The United States could never have earned the respect of the rest of the world if its overt mission had been to conquer and destroy the cultures of other countries or to deny safe haven to those seeking it here. She has routinely reached out to those in distress here and abroad and, despite what her detractors claim, she has proven to be a genuine inspiration and model for safety and stability while providing a safe home for all.
America must remain accessible to those in need of her succor. Strong communities consist of people who feel that they belong, and a strong country is built with strong communities. The essence of America is powerful but she is only as strong and as kind as the mettle of her masses. Americans must continue to foster open minds and nurture open hearts if we wish to maintain the values that have made us the good people that we are.