Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Give Me Your Tired and Your Poor

As we wait for the final news on this historic democratic primary, I thought it might pass the time to highlight this great editorial in the New York Times. This Bush era, immigration panic is so counter to what our country should be aspiring to, so counter to our self-image, so painful. And I agree that when the dust settles on this decade of disasterous policy we will have trouble facing this craziness head on and dealing with it.

Someday, the country will recognize the true cost of its war on illegal immigration. We don't mean dollars, though those are being squandered by the billions. The true cost is to the national identity: the sense of who we are and what we value. It will hit us once the enforcement fever breaks, when we look at what has been done and no longer recognize the country that did it...

...Every time this country has singled out a group of newly arrived immigrants for unjust punishment, the shame has echoed through history. Think of the Chinese and Irish, Catholics and Americans of Japanese ancestry. Children someday will study the Great Immigration Panic of the early 2000s, which harmed countless lives, wasted billions of dollars and mocked the nation's most deeply held values.

Not that this is the first time, far from it. But here we are again.

For this reason among so many others, I am excited beyond measure at the chance for an Obama presidency as a symbol of our background, our multicultural history reflected in his personal history. President Obama has the potential to be a central coming together point to talk about our history, and our future.

My family is Welsh, German and English. My friends are Japanese-American, Indian-American, Cherokee, African-American, Greek-American, Chinese-American, friends who's families are from Mexico, Peru, Italy, Russia and so many other places...

We are from everywhere. And we are Americans. And hopefully after today we will have a nominee who will represent all of us.