The "Bravery" of a Nation | Teen Ink

The "Bravery" of a Nation

July 3, 2015
By Tsalagi515 BRONZE, McDonough,
Tsalagi515 BRONZE, McDonough,
1 article 24 photos 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Eh", - Me.

As soon as we are capable of listening and comprehending, we have the idea pounded into our brains that the United States of America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. The notion of our land being the greatest example of a place that is both brave and free has been given to us so many times that I fear those words have become trite. It is difficult in our country, with our bright lights, flashy distractions, and self obsession, to think and reflect on who we are as a unit: as a nation. Based on what I've seen on the news of late on the current state of American affairs, I can say without any doubt that we’ve lost our old perspectives on freedom and bravery, and have moved toward a more selfish approach to our existence.

During the first week of July, 2014, buses full of immigrant children from Central America and other Hispanic countries were brought into Murrieta, California. Instead of being welcomed into America, these children were berated and forced back by xenophobic protesters. It is completely ridiculous that we call these people, these children, illegal. The actions they take are very much illegal, but to identify the words “illegal” or “unwanted” with a specific race or group of people creates unnecessary animosity and hostility expressed so perfectly in the protests in California. Protesters hold up distasteful signs like “stop the illegals” and “return to sender”. The “sender” they so lovingly refer to is a war torn, impoverished group of countries that offer no hope to their inhabitants accept that of death and destruction. Americans act as if this land is their land to keep and not to share with people who desperately need an opportunity at a safe life. The view from our industrialized world is so black and white that these people have yet to see the gray area of law that is humanity.

What’s ironic about these protesters is that they kick and scream against immigration for days with their homemade signs and home-grown hatred, when in reality, none of these people are native to the land they are so viciously trying to protect. They may have been born in the United States, but centuries ago their ancestors were just as impoverished, as persecuted, and as desperate as these young Hispanic children. The phrase “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it”, another saying that’s lost its meaning, perfectly narrates the current state of immigration affairs. The fight against immigration is simply a fight against the past. Without brave souls like those in Murrieta, most of America’s population would still be in Eastern Europe fighting off poverty and living every day in fear.

In the past, America has refused refuge to immigrants and put restrictions on immigration for the same, selfish reasons that Americans protest immigration today: they fear a loss of power in their society and the desire to keep their culture or society pure and away from outsiders. Most Americans that are anti-immigration like to argue that they fear the loss of jobs the most when they think of illegal immigration, or they talk about the diseases the immigrants may bring with them. The truth is that these Americans have the same fears as those who were hardcore racists in the 20th century, or those who are anti-gay rights now: they fear change. Ironically, their fear stems from the fact that the more brown, black, and colorful people enter this country, the less influence they’ll have here. White America is panicked at the very thought of becoming a minority and if that doesn’t speak to the unfair treatment and dehumanization of people of color in this country I don’t know what does.

America is far from free, as it barely allows its own citizens equal rights and refuses the entry of desperate people into the country. Bravery is so very far from America’s grasp because, in order to be brave, you must accept change and embrace new things while placing yourself after the needs of others. Residents of Murrieta argue that the protesters we saw were not Natives of their town; they were said to be from places surrounding the California town. The regular residents of Murietta do not enjoy the negative publicity their home is receiving, as they say it paints them in a bad light, but San Diego and Arizona are now being highlighted as immigration hot spots in the news as more immigrants come in and more protesters gather. Just as the country can’t separate the bad people from the good in the town, the world can’t separate the bad people from the good in our country. America is losing its status as a beacon of hope to the world, yet these young immigrant children and their desperate families who have sent them here still believe in our power to do good. Americans ought to see past their government and their laws and see their potential as a unit to do great things for the world. If, after all we've done to upset our stance with our immigrant countries, they still can find it within themselves to believe in our freedoms and our bravery, why can’t we find it within ourselves?

The author's comments:

     This is something I wrote right around this time last year. It's sad, but not much has changed since then. (This is the only image I could find)

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