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The Mother of Exiles



America is not full.

It was not full when they excluded the Chinese.  It was not full when they excluded the Irish.  It was not full when we locked up the Japanese.  And it is not full now, when we are treating Brown folks like garbage.  The lies and mis-information being spread about by fools are now getting people killed on a regular basis.  You – who cheer the attacks on them – will be mighty surprised when the goon squad comes for you next.

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!”

-Emma Lazarus

You say, “love it or leave it.”  I say your grandparents and great-grandparents would take you to the woodshed if they heard you sputtering such Nazi garbage.  You say, “go back to where you came from.”  I say, “you go first.”

This nation, with nickels and dimes, person-by-person, funded and built the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor to be an everlasting signal to the planet.  WE ARE THE HOME OF REFUGEES.

We have not always lived up to that goal, yet it is our abiding ideal.  If you can’t handle that, there are plenty of countries that will be more in-line with your fear-based irrational beliefs.  I’m quite sure, for example, that Saudi Arabia will welcome you with open arms.  Well now, they probably belong to Jamal Khashoggi or some other horribly killed dissident.  But that’s the world you are calling for with your intolerant rhetoric – – so learn to love the habits of your new home.

Meanwhile you are cordially invited to GTFO of my country.  I’m done with your petty fears leading directly to the suffering of millions.  We are not full.  Our best days are ahead of us, but you personally are holding us back.  So, go. America does not need your sniveling cowardice, we are a land of people who welcome others and reach out to help them.  We don’t see them as the enemy, merely as those who didn’t yet get our good luck.

I’m done with your hate-chants, your attempts to describe a non-existent invasion, and your idiotic notion that you are being ‘replaced’.  Your grandparents did not ‘replace’ anyone in their town, they helped to build it up and improve it so that you could thrive.  What are you doing to improve life for the next generation?  Why do you believe that ‘they’ are taking your jobs, when in reality your jobs & benefits are being stolen by Wall Street CEO’s?

None of this is new. Ignore the Hannitys and the Limbaughs, they are just the latest versions of a long line of fools.  Recall that after the Civil War it took many decades to heal, with much back-sliding.  Lincoln’s efforts were undermined by Johnson.  Grant stepped in and carried on Lincoln’s work – but was then undermined by the next few presidents.

The 1920’s were a horror-show of racism, led from the oval office by Wilson the Klansman.  That “Jim Crow” period was only broken via 40 years of hard work, culminating in the Civil Rights movement.  So how can you be surprised that we’re going through another backlash – – after the 1960’s just happened???

Of course things are a mess.  And they will, of course, get fixed; again.  If YOU don’t see a role for yourself in this movement, a movement towards a more perfect union, then you need to get educated.  Or, start packing.  If you feel that your religion must be advanced above any others, then you will fit right in under the dictatorship of Duterte over in the Philippines.

Oh, you say you don’t speak Spanish?  Well, ya should have thought of that before you chose to betray our ideals.  Hasta la vista, baby.

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“Give me your poor.”  We can, as we always have, fit them into society and they will help build the next great era, just as Steve Jobs did.  As Madeline Albright did.  Send these, the tempest-tossed, to me.  We learned with horror the error of our ways in 1945.  Because Jews were turned away at Ellis Island, they had to go onto gas chambers back in Europe.  We said “Never again”, and that includes now.  We can take these refugees in, we’ve been doing it for years.  We can also remove the corporate and political barriers in their home nations; so that they may enjoy the liberties and opportunities we have.  Doing so means that they will not even need to come here.  The only thing preventing that from occurring today is Wall Street, (and their wholly-owned feckless toadies in Washington).

“The wretched refuse of your teeming shore” can, as every American should also, have free and effective health care.  We figured out in the early 1800’s that having more people healthy in a given population helps EVERY member of the population.  Duh, this is a fact beyond any discussion.  So, we created Public Health agencies.  And over several centuries people got healthier, lived longer, and there are more of us.  But now, as we back away from these policies… surprise surprise!  People are sicker, dying younger, and epidemics are creeping up again.

Their rise is not an accident, it’s a direct result of idiots who are denying facts.  Sure, an infinitesimal number of ‘illegals’ use services they do not pay into.  Which is offset by every single ‘illegal’ paying massively, every month into Social Security but never getting a dime back of those taxes.  So sure, kick them out, but then watch and sob as your free use of that money disappears and your benefits get cut.  The ‘underground’ economy is underwriting Social Security; Medicare, and so much more.

Off topic slightly, but relevant: drivers licenses.  California banned immigrants from getting them; in a fit of hatred back in the 1990’s.  The predictable result came to pass – – they drove anyhow.  When they got in accidents they had no insurance.  So, the other driver got screwed financially.  Common sense returned, finally we abandoned that policy because the insurance companies were losing too much money.  Now rates are lower and accidents are rarely a screw-job.

Every part of society is better off when every part of society is better off.

“I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  Every part of society is better off when EVERY part of society is better off.

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As you depart our shores, whining and moaning about ‘Socialism’, I will note that labels are useless in the 21st century.  Government “by the people, for the people” can do whatever the people decide it should do.  So you cringe in fear at a word.  We real Americans don’t care.  We are too busy holding our representatives to account, and they WILL enact laws that help the masses in due time.  Regardless of their status, regardless of their wallet size.  We are the wealthiest country to exist in thousands of years.  We can easily afford to share.  Sharing lowers desperation, crime, and misery.  If you personally do not feel wealthy, blame the actual villains on Wall Street, not your supposed enemies from elsewhere.  The immigrants are your allies.  They are the tired, the poor,  the huddled masses yearning to breathe free – – just like our ancestors did.  Enough with the ‘divide and conquer’ politics already.  Fight the true enemy.


{Originally published August 8, 2019}

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