My Dream is Your Dream, and Your Dream is Mine

My Dream is Your Dream, and Your Dream is Mine
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

A beloved aunt who provided great care for me as a child once taught me the expression, 'mi casa es su casa.' She told me that this phrase is used in Mexico to express hospitality and a sense of welcoming for family, friends, and the community. Since she soon thereafter took me to Canada where, among other things, she introduced me to my only Mexican cousin of whom I am aware — a man who married my Peruvian first cousin once removed —I was especially appreciative of the sentiment that this expression held for my diverse family that spanned the continent and beyond.

I always thought that most of my family were Pennsylvania Dutch farmers but in doing more extensive research discovered that some of my ancestors have been in what is now the United States since 1621. In fact, one of my uncles was the governor of Plymouth Colony not just once but several times. More than a handful of my relatives were Revolutionary War patriots who sacrificed their lives and livelihoods in the fight to establish an independent United States. While I am appalled to my core with the means that were used to acquire the land that later became the United States, and the subsequent enslavement and oppression of people that served the interests of a few at the expense of so many, I also get the concepts of patriotism and stewardship of land on a visceral level.

This is why I am disgusted by the policies and budgets that have been proposed by our current administration.

These ancestors of mine — patriots, politicians, and predators — were the first ‘illegal immigrants’ to arrive in this country. I cannot tolerate the exclusion of other human beings from the ‘land of the free’ today when I have personally benefitted from my ancestral history of both being welcomed here with open arms and savagely taking land from native people. The United States is uniquely positioned to welcome our global neighbors based on both the values that have been cultivated through our own tragic history and the resources that we have accumulated as a result of these past transgressions. I am indebted to my ancestors and I owe them the protection and promotion of inclusion and freedom — not just for me, but for all people around the world.

Not only am I a descendant of immigrants, I have many friends, neighbors, coworkers, students, and teachers who have come to the United States for a better life. Immigrants don't just supply inexpensive labor, a resource upon which too many Americans unwittingly rely in their day-to-day lives, and their drain on American resources is exacerbated by our insistence that they be detained and returned to their homeland. Immigrants, most significantly, share their cultural richness and beauty, intellectual ingenuity, and dynamic worldview. Immigrants are not just people in need of Americans’ help to start a new life; they are — in most cases — people who have the ability to make the quality of our own lives so much better.

The proposed border wall and travel ban, not to mention the gutting of domestic programs for our most vulnerable neighbors to fund these and similarly reactionary and aggressive projects that are sure to come, reflect the short-sightedness and selfishness that have become synonymous with Americans’ distorted view on what freedom really means. Americans deserve freedom not because of our citizenship but because of our humanity. The privilege we enjoy as citizens of this country can only be protected by exercising our responsibility to be inclusive, by promoting freedom for all. In a world where so many people’s relationship with their own land has been unjustly destroyed against their will for the profit of others (including Americans), where there are few places on the planet that provide the safety and protection that people need to survive and to thrive, where powerful nations provoke instability and divisiveness when they could be using that power to set an example for others to follow, we must expect more from our government.

The policies and budgets that have been shared so far are racist, nationalist, elitist, and just plain morally wrong. We should be building dreams together, rather than barriers to peaceful coexistence on our planet. Let’s invest in a more inclusive, loving, and beautiful world that reflects the freedom which we all deserve.

Popular in the Community


What's Hot