Amidst the current wave of nationalism in the USA, it’s important to remind ourselves that we are a nation of immigrants. It’s also worth noting that we are a nation of immigrants who got started by eradicating most of the natives.
But that’s unlikely to happen to us. We’re not welcoming imperial armies onto our shores. Today’s immigrants aren’t trying to impose their way of life by force. Rather, they love America just the way it is. Those who lived through oppressive regimes understand how good we have it better than many of today’s natives, myself included.
What about the ones who don’t love America? Those who believe in a hateful ideology. The terrorists. They’re out there, and it seems to me we have two high-level options for dealing with them.
We can isolate ourselves. Tell refugees who share our values that they’re shit out of luck because they share the same ethnicity as their oppressors, and that’s scary.
OR, we could welcome them. We could say hey, if you believe in freedom and democracy, if you just want a shot at a peaceful and prosperous life for you and your family, then please come in. You belong here.
And for the teeny tiny minority who means us harm, hey, we’ll try to filter them out. But we’ll miss some. Now imagine if those who slipped through the cracks and arrived in this country, rather than being greeted by hate-affirming racism and fear, were instead flooded with tolerance, freedom, equality, and love… the likes of which they had never experienced before.
In other words, if you’re a nationalist and you believe America is the greatest country on Earth… If this is you:
Then isn’t America great enough to convince visitors of its greatness, no matter how skeptical they may be? And if not, isn’t that the greatness we should strive for?