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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/23/10

Death of The American Dream

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It is astounding to me the level of xenophobic propelled action taking place in reaction to the development of an Islamic Community Center near Ground Zero. I have seen numerous postings on Face Book and Self-declared Righteous Politicians touting the immorality of it by using images of the 9-11 attacks as bait for the hate hungry. When will we start acting like America again?

I remember growing up in a small community where the Pledge of allegiance was said each morning without fail and we were vehemently taught that America was the land of opportunity where even the poorest of men (or women) could become whatever they wanted. As I grew up, I had visions in my head of the Statue of Liberty and that wonderful quote:

""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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

To me, this quote was more than just an etching on a plaque in a place I would probably never go, it was a message, a beacon that meant all were welcome in this country no matter how poor or downtrodden. This held great significance for me. You see, I was born and raised in a hippie culture to parents who were immigrants.

Some of you probably are envisioning turban wrapped Arabs or poor Slovenians, Cubans, Haitians paddling or smuggling themselves into this country type of immigrants. No, they came over from England on the Queen Mary (third Class, of course) and established a life in America with great hope and anticipation that someday, they would enjoy the famous American Dream.

I have watched the news, read the blogs and participated in Face book debates on this subject. I have weighed the positives and negatives on all sides of the issue and still I cannot find rational thought. Maybe I am an eternal pessimist but I cannot seem to find where America is in these discussions.

On the Right we have the "Keep America Whole" statements where the argument turns to the Bush Era political paranoia based on the ideal that America is an Elitist State that should benefit only those who are worthy and then there is the liberal side where the poor should get everything and the rich should carry the burden (both views are seriously misguided). I hear the Christian argument where the Muslim invasion is a sin and we should arm ourselves to the hilt to prevent Jihad. I also hear the Muslim side which is rarely reported by mainstream media.

Many may not be aware and Fox News does not help in this matter by spreading falsities about it but, the average Muslim-American does not support what Al-Qaeda is doing. They did not support the 9-11 attacks and they do not think America is evil. If they did, why would they fly flags at their businesses and homes? Why would they come to this country? If you answered because they are trying to infiltrate the US, you have much to learn and even more to remember about this country.

These people are here for the same reasons my parents came here, to live and prosper under the cloak of the greatest country on Earth. They are entitled to the same benefits we all are. It is written in the Declaration of Independence:

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Steven Forrest is a Project Architect living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Currently, he is working to implement Green Building initiatives in several communities across Florida. Given the current situation in America and the continued (more...)
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