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America, Shame on You

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Statue of Liberty from Liberty Island
Statue of Liberty from Liberty Island
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Lady Liberty must be very tired of holding her torch high for one hundred and thirty two years, only to find her welcoming image was for naught. How would Emma Lazarus feel about her humanitarian poem "The New Colossus". It states: "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." How would Lady Liberty feel after looking over this poem since 1903?

I recently thought to myself how I longed for the simplicity of my old J.C. Higgins "Flightliner" with balloon, whitewall tires I scrubbed every week along with a new battery for my horn and headlight concealed within those marvelous tanks on each side of the cross bar. It was 1955 and I could barely reach the pedals, even with wooden blocks. The "Wonder Years", the simple life. A time when dad worked, and mom made cookies every Saturday. A time when the most pressure I felt was when Flash Gordon and his original "Space Force" of three got into a tight situation. Even the Cubbies couldn't ruin a total week; but ignorance was bliss.

Then the bubble burst. Suddenly it occurred to me that only three years before I was born Jewish children were being murdered in Nazi concentration camps, while America stood-by turning away Jewish children and adults by the shipload. Eleven years before I was born the House of Representatives grappled with H.J. 165 and H.J. 168 which would allow a limited number of German refugee children to enter the U.S. You know, Jewish children. To see the document today you will find a pencil note on it: "File, No Action, FDR" It seems by now we would have fallen off our "Self-Righteous Merry-Go-Round" to see ourselves for what we are. It seems our great New Deal President was as heartless as most Americans who forgot where their own roots were at that time.

When I think back to the "Wonder Years" of my childhood, riding my Flightliner, using a clothes pin and playing cards, or maybe a balloon to make my wonderful vehicle roar to life. I can remember that our racist and bigoted neighbors, and even our own families were accepted in those days. Yet somewhere along the line those thoughts and prejudices were buried in most of our society. Some of us thought those days had passed us by until we heard the word "Populist" for the first time. It seems that once we dug deeper into the "Great Society", we found that it meant the mainstream of American society. Simply said it proved that the racism and bigotry of my youth still existed in mass. It showed that the dark and dirty underbelly of American society is still alive and well.

Shame on you; you who see the different races, religions, and cultures as somehow "The Others". Now we reach to our southern boarders to find those we want to dehumanize and reap pain upon. We even dismiss our northern neighbors, Europeans, or any other non-Russian, Chinese, or North Korean government.

Where does this insanity stop? When do we walk a mile in the shoes of those who look to us for hope? It took until the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves and more than a one hundred and fifty years later, or seventy years after my birth, that some still don't understand that black lives matter.

Let's not forget how we came to the shores of America in the early 1600s, only to begin stealing the lands of Native American peoples and killing them with our European diseases. From the 1600s to the 1800s we imported Africans by the hundreds of thousands. In 1882 we passed the Chinese Exclusion Act revealing our continuing bigotry. Even from 1892 until 1965 we had a quota system that favored only Europe.

So when you claim a close alliance to our current government, when you proudly assume the mantel of populist, when you cheer the separation of children from their parents and turn away those fleeing persecution or death, you have revealed yourself. It is not a thing of pride. Tribalism is the antithesis of civilization. Then again we do have all that history, don't we?

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Marine Corp veteran.Vietnam from 1967 to 1968 as an artillary spotter (F.O.). Progressive, not a hawk.Bernie supporter in the last election.

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