Rusted Copper Tears

As of 2014, the population of the United States was about 318.9 million people. According to an article at Infoplease, the population of Native Americans is about 5.2 million people.

I don’t claim to be a math genius, but even my weak skill have determined that this mean that over 99% of all residents of the United States are either immigrants, or descend from people who immigrated from somewhere else.

One of my hobbies is genealogy, and I know exactly how three branches of my family arrived here. The earliest was in 1609, as part of the Jamestown companies, and you can’t tell me that there was a “legal” way for those people to get here. In fact, if memory serves, the Jamestown settlements almost didn’t survive the winter of 1623/24 because of Indian raids, and nearly 85% of the inhabitants were either killed or starved. That doesn’t sound like a very welcoming foreign government if you ask me.

Now, I’ve also documented arrivals of parts of my family in the 1730’s, as part of a mass migration from what is now Germany, people who were fleeing civil war and weeping-statuereligious persecution. They just showed up in Philadelphia, got off the ship and moved on to new lives. There weren’t a lot of formalities involved.

Ok, I’m being simplistic, but my point is that this country, as it exists today is truly a melting pot of peoples and cultures from every other corner of the world. Whether your ancestors came on a boat and passed under the Statue of Liberty and spent time clearing formalities at Ellis Island, or whether they came across the Straits of Florida strapped to a floating barrel, or came over from China in 1870 to build railroads in the west, or slipped over the border into Texas on a hot steamy August night, the point is that they were trying to get away from a place that was terrible to a place that promised freedom, or at least a place where you weren’t just a bag of flesh and bones made to serve the state.

There have always been undesirables entering the country. Thieves and bullies of all types came here and made a killing because they could. Honest people eventually find them out and deal with them.
Today, we are afraid of “terrorists” and some of our most prominent political wannabe’s and even our own Congress are beginning to think that our doors shouldn’t be so open to some people. Or that we should start a database and register some people of a certain religion.

It’s simply wrong.

Yes, we can screen those who wish to come, yes we can be cautious, but to slam the door to an entire people simply because we are afraid is shameful and should cause all the ghosts in our national cemeteries to rise and haunt us until we regain our reason.

The terrorists win when they force the entire rest of the world to cower in fear, to shut the doors, and spend time, money and effort to allay our fears and “make the world safer”. I call bullshit by the way – if a powerful bomb can be built in a used soda can and left in an airplane cargo bay by a ramp worker – how can you make the world safe from that?

The answer is not to curl up in fear and slam our doors and gather everyone who is different into a locked box and point at them and declare ourselves safe. We did that with the Japanese in 1941 and it’s a stain on our conscience that can’t be cleared away, and it did nothing to make us safer.

I have no answers, I leave them up to the professionals, yet in my soul I know that denying immigration to an entire people because we are afraid of them means that we have already lost our war on terror.

 

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