What Would Lincoln Do?

How would President Lincoln have tackled immigration today?

We have, as a Great Nation, been blessed over the years with esteemed, well-educated and well-spoken leaders (some more than others). In pondering the present Administration, I thought it pertinent to peer into the past to see how other Presidents have dealt with immigration and border security.  I turned to President Lincoln first and read on his speech in Cincinnati on February 12, 1861, given to a group of Germanic citizens. In his words he says:

“…I hold that while man exists it is his duty to improve not only his own condition, but to assist in ameliorating mankind; and therefore, without entering upon the details of the question, I will simply say that I am for those means which will give the greatest good to the greatest number…In regard to the Germans and foreigners, I esteem them no better than other people, nor any worse. It is not my nature, when I see a people borne down by the weight of their shackles–the oppression of tyranny–to make their life more bitter by heaping upon them greater burdens; but rather would I do all in my power to raise the yoke than to add anything that would tend to crush them. Inasmuch as our country is extensive and new, and the countries of Europe are densely populated if there are any abroad who desire to make this the land of their adoption, it is not in my heart to throw aught in their way to prevent them from coming to the United States.”

Our Country is still new to the world. We are the land of opportunity and plenty. We have more than enough for the small numbers of refugees that have prompted the present crisis pitting the Administration (and alt-right and Evangelical Christians) against those of varying skin colors and holy texts.  It’s not about terrorism as these factions would have you believe, but it’s about being insular, less competition for resources (whether those be of the mind for the Christians or jobs for some or less diversity for others).  Who are we to further permit oppression, suffering and tyranny of others. We struggled in the right to beat tyranny from our shores only to welcome it for others and to sanction it for lands that are far from our shores.

America is a leader of nations and cannot do so by cowering in a corner. If we do not lead this world, others will. Nations across our Globe are in disbelief in what has become of our politics and they will, in my estimation, chose a more centrist and even-handed nation that can be a stalwart defender of the common beliefs of man.  Who are we, indeed, to make life more bitter for those in strife and suffering. This is not what my Bible taught me.

Silence

immigrants-cartoon

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