“Give me your poor, your tired, your wretched, your teeming masses yearning to be free”
These words, inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty, are more than verse at a tourist attraction; for more than a hundred years, they have embodied the essence of the noble experiment that is America. They represent the intangible ideals, as if they are the living waters of a river carrying the substance that feeds our nation’s growth.
Wave upon wave of the oppressed and persecuted, English, German, Polish, Italian, Russian, Israeli, Lebanese, Nigerian, Cuban and Mexican and numerous others, took Lady Liberty at her word. Their broad shoulders and keen minds helped build our nation.
They spilled their blood in defense of our freedoms; their broken bodies sanctified Antietam, Belleau Wood, Normandy, Iwo Jima, Pork Chop Hill, Khe Sanh and Fallujah. They are us, all Americans, the heart and soul of our nation, its future and our past.
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But now, a wall of new laws and physical structure are going up to stop these “others” from coming.
An insidious rumor has swept our land, fueled by ignorance, fear, bigotry and lies. It says that these outsiders mean us harm, that they take our jobs, rape our women, corrupt our children and, because they may worship differently than we do, they are, by virtue of their religious tenets, our sworn enemies.
President Trump, we beg you to think of the consequences before you incite the worst feelings inside each of us.
We the people, desiring the best for our country, implore you to act in a way as to applaud, boost, comfort, console, energize, excite, fortify, galvanize, hearten, inspire, reassure, and strengthen all of us.
One of your oldest friends, Shimon Peres, once said “Great leaders serve. They do not rule.”
Michael B. Fernandez,