America is not perfect but…

“Spare 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 someplace else.
I lift my shotgun beside the bolted door!”
(Facebook posting 8/28/2013)

I feel sad that someone would post such a mockery of the promise of America enshrined on the Statute of Liberty especially someone who knows that most Americans aren’t against welcoming people here and aren’t ready to kill them. It is that they want those coming here to follow the rules for coming here. Yes, the process isn’t perfect but it doesn’t mean that it is racist or unfair. Even those with guns know would welcome immigrants who come here legally. Heck, even George Zimmerman’s mother is an immigrant from Peru.

The extremists that are caricatured by this mockery are to the Right what those who see racism behind every unemployed or imprisoned African-American and Latino are to the Left. The Reality is somewhere in the middle.

Yes, there is limited opportunity for some in America but the opportunity exists more now than in the past and certainly more than in most Latin American countries. Human beings and human institutions are not perfect, but America is built on the striving for change and betterment. The Preamble to the Constitution enshrines it: ā€œ We the People of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union,…ā€. The Constitution was and is an attempt to create a country that gets better and closer to its full potential with each generation. One that was better than the one under the Articles of Confederation; one that was better than before the Civil War; one that was better than before the Civil Rights Era. That is why the document has an amending process and set up a system of checks and balances to protect individuals and give them peaceful alternatives to violently taking to the streets like we are seeing in countries like Egypt and Syria.

In a statement released on August 28th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, Daniel Garza, Executive Director of the Libre Initiative stated, “It is incredibly encouraging that fifty years after the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, millions of Americans of every race and beliefs embrace a vision that was still controversial when it was delivered. It’s a message of hope – one rooted in the American Dream: that regardless of your skin color, your religion, or your circumstances of birth, you have an equal opportunity to achieve something. Generations of immigrants have built lives around this dream – ignoring the condescension from those who said they couldn’t succeed on their own. In America, your character is what delivers success – for yourself, for your family, and for your community. When I look at the Hispanic community in particular, I see so many talented young people in universities, in business, in faith communities, and in the halls of power. This potential and talent shows me that we have made real progress to achieving Martin Luther King’s dream of a truly equal society.”

So the words that others would mock, I want to end this article with. A familiar and positive view of what America means:
“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!”

By Being Latino Contributor, Jeffery Cassity Jeffery Cassity writes weekly for the Being Latino! website and has started writing regularly for the Sacramento Press website and for the El Conquistador(Milwaukee, WI) newspaper. His articles have also appeared previously in the El Conquistador newspaper(Milwaukee, Wisconsin), the Kenosha(WI) News and the Sacramento(CA) News & Review. Jeff also has written a number of unproduced(so far) feature movie and TV pilots which he hopes to turn into a late in life career in Hollywood, Mexico City, Beijing and/or Dublin. Follow him on Twitter @jcassity05. Also read his blog containing all his written articles I am Puddin’.

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