Remember when we were the land of the free and the home of the brave. That whole, “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!” We are a place where immigrants wrote the laws, established our systems, and laid the ground work to create the country where we live (#alexanderhamilton).
Immigrants, they have moms and dads and family and lives that they are trying to make better.
My great-great-great-grandparents on one side were Jewish immigrants to the United States at a time when it wasn’t so popular to be Jews. It’s lucky for them that they made their move from Europe in the late 1800s/early 1900s, because if they had waited until the late 1930s, there is a chance that the country would have told them the borders were very closed. Because Jewish refugees in World War II weren’t sexy, at least, not until 1944 when mass holocaust couldn’t be denied.
Refugees, they have moms and dads and family and lives that are in such danger that they would rather sleep on the highway in a country that doesn’t want them then remain where they are.
These are the people that we live in fear of. Approximately 38% of the refugees look like this. Small children, under the age of 12, who long for home and only remember the war and violence that has surrounded them. Another 50% of refugees are women. They are fleeing from the homes they have made, to nothing. They run away from a world that can care less what their religion is, death will come eventually. Girls are taken from their families, assaulted, and often left for dead. They sit at fences and wait for countries to let them in. They look for someone who sees their pain and invites them in. They look for welcome and they instead receive a wall.
Refugees, much like these families, have been settled in the U.S. for years upon years. Since 9/11 and the rise of terrorism-based fear, not a single terror attack has been carried out by a refugee. In Paris, we watched as eight French Nationals killed over 100 fellow citizens in the name of chaos and bloodshed. Our fear makes us want to hide. And in moments like this, all I can wonder is when did our fear become bigger then our faith. As we are caught up in our fear we have forgotten what makes us great. In an effort to keep all of the perceived evil out, we ignore the command in Isaiah to “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s case.” We cover our fear and our ignorance in the cloak of patriotism.
Our safety is never guaranteed. Terrorism, car-jacker, serial killer, spree-killer, burglar, rapist, school-shooter, stray bullet. The way to keep us safe isn’t building higher walls, it isn’t arming every able-bodied person in the U.S., and it damned well isn’t ignoring the INSANE amount of violence in the world. It is seeking justice for those who cannot speak for themselves. It is helping our neighbors and heaping kindness on their heads. It is being global in a world that wants us to sit in our comfortable houses with our overabundance of stuff. It is creating a legacy for which we many never see the fruit.
Legacy. What is a legacy?
It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see
I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me
America, you great unfinished symphony, you sent for me
You let me make a difference
A place where even orphan immigrants
Can leave their fingerprints and rise up
You sent for me.