This I Believe

Christina - Enola, Pennsylvania
Entered on February 4, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
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I believe the United Sates is the greatest nation in the world and its people are the most generous and under-appreciated ambassadors in the world, but I fear it is in danger of losing its greatness. I grew up in an age when American history was full of propaganda and the only side of the story that was told was ours. Perhaps that was when I first learned to love our country. Since then, I am a more informed student of history as I watch it unfold daily before me in newspapers, on radio and television. We can no longer hide behind the propaganda in our outdated history books but stand naked before the world. I’m not always proud of what I see.

I recognize we are not always right and in fact, we are often wrong. But having said that, I believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I believe this nation has always stood as a beacon of freedom and a moral compass for the rest of the world. I fear we have tarnished that reputation by what I see as violations of basic human rights and a mindset of fear. We have become afraid of our neighbors because of their religious differences, their ethnicity, their way of life. We have allowed the opponents of immigration to instill fear in us. That’s not the American way! We are a nation of immigrants whose fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers sought a better life for their children. It’s time for us to recognize this nation was built on the backs of the immigrants who came before us.

I believe we will always be the destination for those who seek a better life, although we seem to be a nation undecided about how to handle illegal immigration. We speak of those who come across borders, often at the risk of their own lives, to seek a better future. What do we do now with these souls? I believe there is enough room in this country for all of us, both those who came here legally and illegally. Why should we be afraid to open our doors a little wider, to allow to stay those who have made a home for themselves by hard work and study? If we allow them to become citizens, to be proud of this country, to join the ranks of us who hold down jobs and pay a fair share of taxes, would we not be a stronger nation? We cannot possibly evict the 12 million people who entered this country illegally. What I believe we can do is assimilate them and encourage them to be good citizens. I believe we need to revamp our current immigration policies to allow for more immigration.

We have nothing to fear from those seeking a better life but we have everything to fear when we start to turn our backs on our neighbors. Instead of spending millions of dollars to build a fence between Mexico and us, let us spend the money to ensure our borders remain open, so no one needs to come here illegally.