MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, MD: President Trump lit up Twitter last weekend. Telling four female U.S. representatives to go back where they came from. This, despite the fact that all four are U.S. citizens and only one was born outside the country.
Republicans in the House of Representatives either support Trump’s statements or refuse to comment on them.
Instead, they repeated their assertion that the country is better off now than it was three years ago. They said that the Democrats’ Socialist agenda would destroy the country.
They know that incurring the ire of the president may mean a strong challenge in the primaries for the next election.
The Senate was non-committal.
That phrase, “go back where you came from”, is an old one. It was used during the 1960s when our country was consumed by Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement.
“America, love it or leave it.”
Those who voiced opposition to the Civil Rights movement of yesteryear felt that those who supported it had no right to even argue an opposing view.
This attitude was sharpest when Civil Rights supporters were members of racial and ethnic minorities.
Typically, when an issue is raised for which the other person has no good argument, whether liberal or conservative, that person resorts to insults. This is human nature, despite political ideology.
There is no right in this present political snafu.
What are the consequences of this?
Many people will react strongly to criticism of their strongly felt beliefs. When faced with certain statements they will react with strong come-backs that are not objective in nature. They include the most recent “if you don’t like it here, leave”.
The fact remains that they most likely hurt the other person with such a statement.
Others will make this type of statement and mean it. Believing that some do not have the right to criticize because of their immigration status is part of second class citizenship. A Federal agency found that this type of statement constitutes workplace harassment.
This second-class citizenship was not uncommon in the past. Some European and Middle Eastern countries, especially the latter, still apply it to certain immigrants. Legal and illegal.
So, where do we go from here?
A solution to resolve these situations is simple. When engaged in a discussion, be objective. Argue the facts, do not insult the opponent. If you are a person of color, legal or otherwise, accept your responsibility to become an American. Learn the language. When in Rome, as they say, do as the Romans do. Which is not to say, forget your heritage. Just recognize that your heritage is not everyone’s heritage.
We hope that the US will not go back to the 1950s.
Divisive Nationalism, White, Black or Brown, should not be able to expand if people come to their senses.
This can only happen if people see through the scare tactics currently in use to divide us.
In 1883 Emma Lazarus penned the famous words at the base of the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
These words made us the beacon of opportunity and freedom that made us great. Let us not forget them. We all need to be and accept others as citizens of this great country. But that requires that everyone be American. Because in adopting others as citizens, there is an expectation that they will love America.
Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, was born in Colombia, South American and has been a proud US citizen since 1980. He is on Twitter (@chbcharus), LinkedIn and Facebook (Mario Salazar).