This Land was Made for Me and You
Woody Guthrie lyrics echo in the background as the sun sets on the Potomac.
“This land is your land, this land is my land . . .”
The last paddle boat tugs its way to the docks by Jefferson Memorial.
“From California to the New York Island . . .”
A White House aide boards the metro and takes the only available seat. It’s next to a woman with dark hair.
Her name is Mary.
She looks tired.
She’s on her way home to prepare dinner for her children before going to her second job.
“From the Redwood forest to the gulf stream waters . . .”
He sits with his newest iPhone, deeply engaged in a text conversation about a rough day at work.
He gets off the metro, without looking at his seat neighbor once.
She gets off the metro, seven train stops later.
Just as she finishes dinner and gets her children bathed, and put to bed, she sits down to read the paper.
“Trump derides protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries,” the headline reads.
“This land was made for you and me . . .”
While many Americans await an outcome for the future of DACA and immigration reform under the Trump Administration, recent reports of our nation’s president referring to various countries as s***hole countries stomps on the hopes of those for a brighter tomorrow as an immigrant in the United States.
President Trump’s inappropriate statements not only represent an unprofessional and apathetic tone, far from what a president should ever say in a public setting -- they also allude to a greater issue of general apathy toward those who are different from “us.”
These statements create a tone that America is better than poorer, underdeveloped nations and that these places do not deserve the same respect, attention, and protections as we do. Furthermore, his comments give off the chilling fragrance that only those from countries who can help our “image” are welcome here.
However, how can any president discuss the deservingness of another country in an “us versus them” context when America, “us,” is a country full of immigrants?
Men on the moon. Transatlantic flights. Flu shots. All available, all possible because America was not, and never intended to be, a “who do you know here” frat party.
The America we know, the America we love . . . what is it that we know and love so much? Is it wondering if your best friend will be here in six months because she might be forced to return to an impoverished, dangerous country she fled decades ago? Is it turning on the television to see our president degrade our daughters and friends and mothers and aunts and sisters? Is it when your son comes home from school in tears because a kid in his class told him we should “build a wall” so people like him do not exist in this country?
Remember Mary? Mary fled to the United States for a better life.
Mary is Haitian.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.