I was mourning the death of a Lady who used to call the four cardinal points loud and clear: "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!"
I was mourning because a group of elected officials who—Democrats and Republicans alike—could not solve the immigration conundrum, because they put their partisan politics ahead of the welfare of 12 million souls that according to President George W. Bush’s leading economic team, bring Native-born American workers more than $30bn in benefits from immigration each year. They do not bring disease or crime any more than the Italians and the Irish did when they were the punching bag for hysterical bigots.
I was one among the latest Pew global opinion poll who thinks that President George W. Bush and his misguided war in Iraq have dragged the United States far, far down in the world's eyes. The poll also showed a widespread perception that Washington acts without considering the interests of other countries. I mourn for the more than 3600 sons and daughters who have died in this senseless and unprovoked war and the 26,000 injured. I also mourn for Iraq, a country that has lost over 400,000 of its sons and daughters—with over 3 million refugees—for a senseless vendetta that has no rhyme or reason. I mourn the lies of an administration that led us to this war, and the continuous stubbornness to sell the blood of our citizens for a few drops of oil.
I mourn the death of a nation that used to stand for: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
I mourned for our women’s right to chose which was struck down by our Supreme Court, in spite of what the Medical Community (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) recommended. The same Supreme Court that has forgotten the struggles of the African American citizens and ruled that race alone could not be used to determine where children go to school, a ruling that could affect millions of American children. I mourn for the GLBT community, whose rush to achieve their dutiful rights of parity under the 14th Amendment of our constitution and obtain Civil Union rights has lead them to forget that in 32 states the GLBT community do not enjoy “basic” civil rights—and those are the communities where those protections are most needed.
Finally, I mourn for the utter disrespect of the law by our president. When he was running for president, George W. Bush loved to contrast his law-abiding morality with that of President Bill Clinton, who was charged with perjury and acquitted. For Bush, the candidate, "politics, after a time of tarnished ideals, can be higher and better." Not so for Bush, the president. Judging from his decision Monday to commute the 30-month sentence of I. Lewis Libby Jr. - who was charged with perjury and convicted - untarnished ideals are less of a priority than protecting the secrets of his inner circle and mollifying the tiny slice of right-wing Americans left in his political base. Presidents have the power to grant clemency and pardons. But in this case, Bush did not sound like a leader making tough decisions about justice. He sounded like a man worried about what a former loyalist might say when actually staring into a prison cell.
My biggest disappointment is America's failure to live up to its own ideals and standards. Bush and his team are famous for not listening to anyone but themselves. But they need to listen to what the rest of the world is saying when they refuse to plan for a rational exit from Iraq or block serious efforts to control global warming or insist that the time is still not right for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement. It's not just their reputation that is suffering. It's America's—and for that reason I can’t believe in fireworks anymore.