America shouldn’t forget its roots as a nation of immigrants

The following was a Letter to the Editor of the Finger Lakes Times written by Steve Coffman of Dundee. Steve is the author of Founders v. Bush: a Comparison in Quotations of the Policies and Politics of the Founding Fathers and George W. Bush” and other books.

“Xenophobia” means a fear or hatred of foreigners. I hate to say it, but our country’s got a
case of it real bad. We’re building walls and fences, snooping on each other in every conceivable way, locking ourselves up in our schools and gated communities, locking our systems of justice and governance almost out of reach.

Yes, we were attacked. By a tiny group of Saudi Arabian religious zealots.

We also were attacked by Timothy McVeigh and his tiny group of American religious zealots. Attacked by Eric Rudolph and the Ku Klux Klan. Attacked by Theodore Kaczynski, James Earl Ray, Sirhan Sirhan, Lee Harvey Oswald.

And attacked with anthrax, not by Sadam Hussein or any foreign marauder but by someone with security clearance in a U.S. military laboratory.

In fact, we were attacked by 13,000 murders in America last year, only a tiny fraction of which were committed by foreigners. Foreign or not, those who commit crimes in our country should be found and prosecuted in a court of justice. That is the American way.

statue_libertyAlso the American way is we are a nation of foreigners. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

That’s our welcome to foreigners on the Statue of Liberty. That’s our history and our pride.

When we hate the foreigners in our country, we are hating ourselves and hating America’s heritage. Those who are good workers and good citizens, treat them like our own, for that’s who they are. Pay them fairly and they will not be “cheap labor” that makes other American workers uncompetitive. Provide them education and they will gratefully learn the English language.

Here’s what George Washington had to say to an assembly of newly arrived Irish in 1783:

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions, whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.” — Address to the Members of the Volunteer Association of the Kingdom of Ireland, Dec. 2, 1783


About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
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7 Responses to America shouldn’t forget its roots as a nation of immigrants

  1. Barbara Griffin says:

    This is exactly what happened in Germany during the rise of Hitler…and in Italy with the rise of Mussolini. Hile, Trump.


  2. Aretha says:

    We are so focused on blaming the illegals for crimes that we seem to ignore all the white folk committing crimes including serial killers. Take one look at the Trump administration and show me the diversity. Wait there is none except of course Sarah Palin and Jan Brewer.


  3. The only reason someone would conflate immigration with illegal immigration is to unfairly demonize the opposing party. Unless what you’re saying is Democrats are for open boarders. Is that what you are proposing?


  4. Dan Stuart says:

    A little left, Hate Trump, don’t you? Yeah, what foreigners? Those who’s religion is a theocracy, where they do not intended to come to find a better life, but come to dominate and oppress, those the foreigners you are protecting with your slippery language? Spring boarding off of Cuomo’s take me first I am an immigrant, save that crap. Cuomo’s grandparents did the right thing, came legally to find a better life. What drives people like you?


  5. pystew says:

    Mr. Stuart, Are you saying that we only accept immigrants if they have the accepted religious beliefs? (How would we really know?) Please explain where we find that in our constitution.


  6. Deb Meeker says:

    Ouch. George Washington may not have been the best to quote at the end of this agreeable piece. At the time Washington owned slaves from Africa. America has always been built by the poor and middle classes (with the cash of those who get the benefits). In this day at this hour, Native American lands are being stolen and raped by machines, immigrants are snuck in and paid slave wages, and even women who were born in the US – white and American as can be – are being paid 3/4 of what men receive for the same work.
    Bring on the immigrants! Perhaps this country would finally understand what a melting pot really is.


  7. Deb Meeker says:

    There is an in between. people who have come from many different countries ( not just Mexico) and over stayed their visa, or never had one – whose children are now serving in the US military, are doctors and lawyers, and plain working folks who want a better life like you. Are you opposing that these and the Dreamers be sent back to – in many cases, murder and mayhem, so this country can be “pure”?


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