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Friday, November 21, 2014

Speaking of Strangers

       Yesterday when I heard that the major television networks were not going to air the President's address to the public, on the public airwaves, as they have always done, I felt my proverbial camel's back snapping, breaking sharply but completely. The attacks on our rightfully elected (twice) chief, attacks both overt and covert, are so shameful that I barely recognize my own nation. And no doubt, President Obama will be blamed for that too. 

       He wanted to talk to us about immigration. A strangely volatile subject. Strange, because if you are living here and are not an immigrant, that is because you have quite literally been grandfathered in. We are a nation of strangers, yet our fear of "the stranger" is intense.

      The gravest stranger now, it seems to me, is the democracy that we are supposed to be. The founding fathers, I am sure, would be appalled at the way the "POTUS" has been maligned. The man who in their day they called "His Excellency" has my complete support to restore the great experiment, and he has my support based on philosophy and politics, as well as honor and tradition. 

     I share a multimedia poem I recently exhibited at a local art gallery, on the subject of immigration, and I share a quote from the President's speech last night. Words that are far more poetic than my own. 


I dreamed of coming
to America, Land of the Free.

Longed, needed to come,
yearning to breathe free.

Tired, poor, and wretched
I left the home I knew well,

where the land I was one with
flowed familiar, never to trip,

where the words I was one with
flowed familiar, never to trick.

I came to these teeming shores,
arms held out to the Mother of Exhiles.

Gathering with others like me, yet
strangers to me, we huddled in masses.

We too cried with silent lips
but we changed …

our clothes,
             our speech,
                        our names.

Tossed our differences into the
pot to melt into cultural compost,

until at long last
we became one with America

calling those that come

by Tammi J Truax 
reprint with permission only

      "... Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger –- we were strangers once, too.
My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal -– that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.
That’s the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That’s the tradition we must uphold. That’s the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless this country we love."

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