Call Me English

A little corner of the world where I talk about what I want.

Posts Tagged ‘immigration

Independence Day

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I can’t make any apologies for the fact that real life has gotten in the way, as I knew it would, over the last several weeks and prevented me from posting in this space with the frequency I always intend. As much as I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts, real life and work must come first.

And it’s not like the news has been silent during this time. Everywhere you look, it’s been one deadly terrorist attack after another, one political gaffe after another, and Brexit, the dreadfully misguided and xenophobic “Dear John” letter from the United Kingdom to the rest of the European Union that pissed on the world economy for no reason and proved for posterity that dimwitted, uninformed voters aren’t just confined to one country.

So where’s the positive in any of this? How can we take an occasion like the Fourth of July when people in this country like to dress in the colors of Old Glory and loudly proclaim how great America is and how if you don’t like it, you can get out?

The way to do it, the way to get past negative news of any kind, is to focus on the society we live in, the cities, countries, and planet we call home as merely works in progress. This is a world and a life that, naturally, will be filled with steps forward and steps back, but no steps back can undo the fact that time goes on and we all have much to celebrate and much to fix.

Our world is a work in progress, and WE are the ones expected to deliver the results. However, we must be doing something right because immigrants have over the centuries and even to the current day risked their lives and livelihoods to make better existences for themselves and their families in countries of opportunity and liberty like this one.

I always think of “The New Colossus,” Emma Lazarus’s 1883 sonnet to raise money for the construction of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal and now inscribed forever within it:

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!”

 

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