Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What is "Great"?

Try to imagine what could possibly drive you away from your home, your friends and your family and motivate you to go to a foreign place where you have no one and don't know the language. Would you do that because you are lazy? Really?
Have you ever moved? Have you ever tried you make your way around in a place you have never been and could not speak the language? Really? Think about it. What would drive you to move from your home, your family and all that is familiar?
Humans, by nature, are not quick to change from the familiar. Something has to be pushing so hard that change is the only solution that seems rational. Whatever it is that they are leaving has to look much more dangerous than where they decide to head.
Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing war zones, criminal areas that feel like war zones, and poverty that is overwhelming in hopes of finding refuge. They flee because they have not given up hope. These are the ones determined to survive. These are the workers, the makers, the creators and the visionaries who are in need of work, things to make, a place to create and a place to grow their vision of a better life.
Once America held that hope. While we have faltered in our welcoming of these travelers and many of our huddled masses, homeless or tempest tossed, throughout our history, we were seen by the world as a nation that aspired to be so great. A gift from France in 1886 to commemorate the 100th year of the Declaration of Independence, the Statue of Liberty is inscribed with that aspiration.

"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!"

If we abandon this aspiration, we will never be great. We need to always aspire to greet those who cross into our country, and all those within our country, by lifting a lamp to a golden door. That golden door is one of equality, hope, education, wellness and kindness. Anything other is not great.

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