I’m still mulling over a book called “The Meaning of Independence” by Professor Edmund Morgan. In his chapter on George Washington, he quotes the future president :
“The bosom of America is open” to “the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions.” “Let the poor, the needy and oppressed of the Earth, and those who want Land, resort to the fertile plains of our western country.”
A century later these thoughts would be echoed by American poet Emma Lazarus, who wrote:
“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!”
These words, written at the time of the erection of the Statue of Liberty, were later inscribed on a plaque which was attached to that Statue.
One of the greatest sources of strength for America has been its “melting pot” of peoples and cultures. We are like an alloy with the whole having greater strength than its individual parts.
More importantly, we have constantly been called to a moral high ground — though we have often resisted — by our commitment to becoming the home of the homeless. By the grace of God, we have been a wonderful refuge for millions of people.
Now, I am convinced, George Washington, Emma Lazarus, and many millions of ordinary Americans, look at trump and his wall and say, “Shame on you for your betrayal of America.”