Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Not So Proud Today

Unless you live under a rock here in the good old US of A, you're probably aware of the immigration protests held all over the country today. For most of the day, all I could hear was the sound of news helicopters overhead, and traffic, usually a pain in the ass to begin with, was practically ground to a halt city-wide. For what, I ask you?

Now, I don't profess to understand all there is to know about the social and economic effects illegal immigration has on our country, and I'm certain I'll probably catch some flack in my comments section about understanding the facts before I open my mouth. But for me, this issue is pretty simple.

This is a country of immigrants. Each and every one of us, save the Native Americans, has someone in our family that wanted a better life for themselves and their loved ones. Someone who knew that this better life would be found here in America. Is there anyone who doesn't recall the words of 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!"

When, I ask you did these words become meaningless to us? I refuse to believe that when Emma Lazarus wrote them, she was only referring to those peoples that we, as a nation, deem worthy of becoming Americans. Why is it ok for these people to plant our fields, diaper our children and cook our food, but not ok for them to ask for better working conditions, better pay and the right to do what all of our families came here to do so very long ago?

And, please, for God's sake, can somebody please tell me what is so wrong with opening our arms and borders to those whose only wish is to work hard and be affored the same opportunities that we, as Americans, take for granted. Call me naive if you want, but I still choose to believe that doing the right thing for our fellow man is possible.

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