Shame on America

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We should as Americans remember that we are all (except for Native Americans, this continent’s original inhabitants) the sons and daughters, grandchildren or great-grandchildren of immigrants, people who willingly braved all challenges, sacrificed and endured many hardships just to get here to enjoy the blessings of freedom, the promise of equal opportunity and liberty under the law. In fact, most of us just spent the past weekend celebrating the 4th of July Independence Day holiday, recognizing and honoring that special bequest of freedom and liberty that we consider to be our unique heritage –something that so many in past generations have sacrificed so much to gain,something which a lot of us living in this country today take totally for granted as a kind of birthright for just being American.

We should also keep in mind that there are still people today living outside this country –young people, some of them as young as six or seven, boys and girls — that are willing to sacrifice everything, leave their parents and families, endure enormous risks and hardship just to get here to hopefully, one day, enjoy that special bequest of freedom and liberty that we just spent the weekend celebrating, that generations of American fighting men and women have fought so bravely to preserve. Most of these kids have come from Central America, looking for sanctuary and a better life in America. Now that they’re here — in the the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” — how do we greet them? With placards and signs telling them to go back where they came from, and threats of deportation.

This is disgusting.  These are children.  It’s stunning to me that a country with the wealth and resources of the United States can’t provide better temporary care for these people until they’ve had a proper hearing by the immigration authorities and it’s decided (on an individual, case by case basis) what’s to be done with them.  The prisoners at Gitmo are better treated.  As Americans we should be ashamed, both for ourselves and our country. This is not what the Stars and Stripes and the Statue of Liberty are supposed to represent.  Remember, the whole world is watching, and it’s incidents like this that undermine and diminish what little moral authority the U.S. might still retain in the eyes of an ever more critical and cynical world.

Right now there are more than 50,000 of these unfortunate young kids on our border with Mexico, crammed into temporary holding facilities, sleeping on the floor with one blanket, not knowing when they wake up each morning what the future holds for them.

This is an abomination, a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportion. Not something that we as a predominately Christian nation — and immigrants ourselves — should be proud to condone.

Certainly the U.S. government should try to do something, initiate some kind of humanitarian effort. But in today’s gridlocked Washington — good luck with that. In the absence of government help, this certainly then is an area where America’s churches could get involved — to aid the sick and old, the poor, the young and the disadvantaged like they did at the very founding of  Christianity. This is one time, however, when the religious community seems almost to be asleep. So I ask you, what good does it do the world, or anyone for that matter, to faithfully go to church on Sunday to celebrate the man (Jesus) and then ignore — in the face of calamity — one of his most fundamental principles, Christian charity?

God bless America!

The Money Trader

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