American Dreams, Into the Ether

This is not the America I know.

The America I know is represented by the words engraved on the Statue of Liberty:

“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.”

The America I know represents not only freedom, but empathy; its people may be divided on many things, but in one certainty they never waver – that America is the home of the free, and the land of the brave. Is it bravery to close our door to those in desperate need? Those refugees, countless children among them, fleeing war, persecution, and the constant threat of death? Those who have been vetted exhaustively, who have endured hardships most of us will never conceive of in our lifetimes, who held on to one final shred of hope that a new life might be possible for them in America, who are now crushed by the weight of one man’s indefensible decision to shun them at the very hour of their entry?

These are people. These are human beings. They are no more a threat to the safety of this country than any of its native citizens may be — likely even less, given the level of scrutiny of the already-painstaking vetting process.

And to take such drastic, life-altering action without any regard for the repercussions not only for those who are immediately affected, but for all Americans – for our standing in the eyes of the world, for the inevitable consequences that will be thrust upon us from those countries who interpret such action as an (understandable) affront – it is to act on impulse; it is to act without concern. It is to act in a manner that is undeniably dangerous for us all.

I believe in our country. I love our country. These actions do not represent the greatness of our country.

This is not the America I know.