Point of View: Let Them In


You’d think that a country wanting to be great again would return to what made it great by welcoming those who, having seen the worst of things, are resolved to better their lives. What more worthy goal? 

And yet the pilgrims, who would a century ago have been met in New York Harbor by the Statue of Liberty, are confronted at our southern border by barbed wire and tear gas.

If you want to make America great again, let them in. (In an orderly fashion, of course.) So the parents can work hard and the children can learn. And, perhaps, in their striving they can teach us, who may have forgot why America has for so long been hope incarnate. 

I hope — sense — that, absent disaster, better things will come, despite the divisiveness so evident now. 

It’s the younger generation I’m pinning my hopes on, a generation less in thrall than its elders to ideology, more amenable to working things out. They, I think, will afford genuine opportunity to all, but will insist that our collective health be as paramount as the achievements of each one of us. In other words, I think that we could become a more equitable society, without going to hell in a handbag.

It’s not either the individual or the group — it’s all of us, together. We’ve got to get back to that. To shaking hands rather than turning our backs — or being shot in the back.

It’s not Communism or Socialism that I’m promoting, but amity, Amityism. Can we not think of the welfare of everyone even as we celebrate an individual’s success? Even as we celebrate, even as we delight in, our own voices? 

It’s not all about the money. And the immigrants, who value family above all, know that. It’s about doing one’s best and in doing so contributing to the whole. That’s what made this country great. There is no better society, no better place. Yes, they’re doing great in China, but at the expense of their souls, I think. There is more joy, more potential joy, anyway, in a country where not only initiative but also the freedom to speak one’s mind is equally valued. I don’t envy the Chinese, though to read of that country’s alchemy of coercion and economic uplift is fascinating. 

In the end, though, it is the free and united spirit that will triumph, or ought to triumph. 

So, don’t tear-gas them, let them in.