I sometimes struggle with how the world is changing. And in particular, how my country is changing.
“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
– Neil Armstrong, astronaut
After years of moving forward toward a global acceptance of humanity, I struggle with the actions of the current Administration. It’s as if we are undoing all the good, all the progress and taking a giant leap backward. I feel that there is a daily breach to America’s core values and purpose.
FACT: 43.7 million immigrants resided in the United States in 2016, accounting for 13.5 percent of the total U.S. population of 323.1 million.
I struggle with the constancy of xenophobia and racism in my country, one that was established to welcome and protect those ostracized for their beliefs and oppressed for their differences.
My grandparents migrated to the U.S. to forge a better life, to provide for their family and to pursue the American dream. Yesteryear’s immigrants: German. Irish. Italian. Spanish. Polish. Caribbean. Philippine. Korean. Mexican. Hungarian. Russian. Protestant. Catholic. Jewish. Buddhist. Hindu. Atheist. They came to the US with the same intentional dream for the opportunity to create a better life for themselves. It is the same intentional dream that IS shared by today’s immigrants. Nigerian. Afghani. Indian. Pakistani. Bangladeshi. Chinese. Indonesian. Iranian. Sri Lankan. Thai. Animism. Muslim. Agnostic. Christian. Orthodox. They aren’t any different than our own ancestors.
I struggle with the lack of empathy and compassion humans have for one another. We can learn so much from listening to their stories, and remembering our own stories.
Early this morning I met a woman struggling to keep her family whole. Her name is Shahina, and she was the Uber driver I was assigned on my return from Jersey City. A mother of three, a former housewife, called to the work force to support her family after both her husband and son were deported to Pakistan. She told me of their emigration to the U.S. 25 years ago, of coming here to escape the atrocities of their homeland, to find a better life to raise her son and two daughters. And despite all of the emotional and financial difficulties she and her family now have, Shahina had only good things to say about our country, the land where her children were born, raised and educated. These are the families President Trump and the current administraion are tearing apart.
I struggle with understanding how that makes America great again.