I promise you that in setting out to write this blog, I fully intended to remain politically neutral regarding the topics that would appear on this platform. Those of you who know me probably understand that this was a long shot. I tried, really I did. But some things just need to be said.
There may not be a more polarizing political figure in the history of this country than Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but regardless of your politics FDR delivered a truly inspiring and memorable speech when accepting his party’s nomination to run for a second term in 1936 – an election he would win by a landslide.
“Better the occasional fault of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.”
To provide a brief historical refresher for context, Roosevelt was at the end of his first term as President, and during the previous four years – in the middle of the Great Depression – wages had nearly doubled and unemployment had been cut in half largely due to unprecedented growth of the federal government. There were missteps of course, and some of the programs that FDR created were cut down by the Supreme Court, but prior to these attempts, President Herbert Hoover had largely sat on his hands as millions of working Americans lost their jobs and countless lost hope during his tenure.
Now, only a few generations later, our government has morphed from one of indifference to one of intolerance.
Perhaps you’ve heard our current president’s announcement that he plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections set forth by his predecessor. Let it be clear that this action has officially removed any doubt as to the level of cruelty to which our leadership is willing to stoop.
Let’s just pause for a moment to consider the issues of the day that really require our time and energy as a nation. In no particular order (unless you live in Texas or Florida, in which case a few of these rise right to the top of the list), we have: a couple of hurricanes that have either caused billions of dollars in damage as well as loss of life or are poised to do so; major infrastructure issues (which to his credit our President tried to to address, but his own party shot him down); the West is ablaze; an adversarial foreign government has hacked into our computers; climate change; health care; an unstable leader of another adversarial government is showing off his nuclear arsenal like a kindergartener with a new Super Soaker at a Fourth of July barbeque; there’s that ever-elusive peace in the Middle East thing; and HBO is making us wait nearly a year and a half for the eighth season of Game of Thrones. I could go on, but that has already become the longest run-on sentence I ever care to write. So, with all of these truly pressing issues at hand, our President has elected to kick productive members of society out of our country for having the audacity to accompany their parents across our border illegally when they were children. This is where he has chosen to focus his power at this moment in time.
Yes, yes, I know that they have broken the law, but I choose to exceed the speed limit while driving my SUV almost daily of my very own volition so I’m not going to cast stones from my glass house.
It’s probably important to point out that these 800,000 or so folks were vetted by our government. They are not criminals. They either have jobs or are in school. Some of them are heroes who have helped during our most recent crisis. Some of them are kids getting ready to go to college. Some of them have signed up to put their lives on the line to defend our country. And our President wants them out. He wants to send them back to a country they likely do not know.
“There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.”
As FDR addressed his delegation 81 years ago, he seemed to foreshadow the greater fight the lay ahead. It is eerily timely for us today too as our generation straddles this line – there is no doubt that we have been given a great deal, and it is now clear that of us much is expected.
It must be expected that we will correct the course of our nation from one of finger pointing and blame, one of lies and nepotism, one of blatant bigotry and fear to one of respect and acceptance. Ours is at it’s heart a nation of hope and of welcome, a country built from its foundation by underdogs and outcasts.
We have nothing to gain by exiling hard working people who want to build better lives. It will be of no benefit to us to send away courageous and talented individuals who are grateful for their opportunities here. There is no pride in placing nationalism over humanitarianism.
What can we do? Well, the fate of DACA now lies in the hands of the U.S. Congress and in this current climate of absolute political uncertainty we the constituents must make our voices heard. Call your representatives, attend their town hall meetings and ensure that they hear us. Let them know that we will not stand by and allow the policies of our nation to be based in cruelty and fear. This is not a partisan issue – just watch this debate by two revered Republicans which took place not all that long ago and see that compassion for these individuals is not monopolized by the left. This is a humane issue, plain and simple. And regardless of whether we individually support the Republican or Democratic platforms ideologically, we should all agree that we are striving for a humane nation.
This is only the beginning of our generation’s rendezvous with destiny. This is just the start of our call to raise our awareness and strengthen our voices. This will not be the final assault from those in positions of power on good people within our borders. Speak up, speak out, and expect more from your leaders and from yourself. We all DREAM of a better world, now is the time to make strides towards that destiny.