Recently Ms. Laura Ingraham said,
“In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people. And they’re changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like. From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically in some ways the country has changed. Now much of this is related to both illegal, and in some cases, legal immigration that, of course, progressives love.”
Her words have drawn ire and approval across the political landscape. According to one report she “backpedaled” concerning her words expressing her and other’s “cultural anxiety” without offering an out-right apology. All of this is viewed as news and worthy of much reporting.
In 1895 Thomas Bailey Aldrich, then a well-respected author and editor, wrote Unguarded Gates in which he expressed sentiments concerning immigration.
“…Wide open and unguarded stand our gates,
And through them presses a wild motley throng–
Men from the Volga . and the Tartar steppes,
Featureless figures of the Hoang-Ho,
Malayan, Scythian, Teuton, Kelt, and Slav,
Flying the Old World’s poverty and scorn;
These bringing with them unknown gods and rites,
Those, tiger passions, here to stretch their claws….”
Aldrich’s entire poem is worth reading in order to gain the full flavor of his opinion, and that of other Americans-both then and now. He is expressing a widely held view, much like Ingraham is. However, expressing an opinion does not give it validity, and just because a person thinks a thought does not make it necessary to express, even though our Constitution grants that right.
In comparing these two sentiments on immigration, it seems to this writer that we have, as a nation, and continue, as a nation, to struggle with unfounded fears and misconceptions concerning this great pot of melt named America. If we look forward from 1895, we see that, in spite of “open gates” our nation has grown and improved, even with its flaws of racism and imperialism and others. We have overcome obstacles and continue to do so. And we must not allow fear to rule.
Clarence Jordon wrote that, “Fear is the polio of the soul which prevents our walking by faith….” Let our nation push aside fear and welcome the sojourner. After all, we once were one of them, walking through the unguarded gate.