By Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Kansas City, MO –
On this Fourth of July immigration and voting rights are at risk for million of Americans. Two of the most sacred principles that define America, the right to vote and immigration, hang in the balance as we celebrate our nation’s birth. Will we stop long enough to analyze whether the Fourth of July, maybe our most sacred holiday as a nation, is losing its significance here in America?
All of us know, or at least should know, the day signifies the arrival of America with all of its assurances and its principles – the individual freedoms that our ancestors, bonded and free, fought and died to protect. But after 237 years, where are we?
We just have to reflect on two recent events to know that we are in need of some serious expression, as Americans, as a country.
The first: Why are we unable to pass an immigration reform bill? We use to be a country that welcomed immigrants from faraway lands. Now, we have more than 11 million illegal immigrants from our next door neighbor, Mexico, and our representative government cannot seem to agree on a measure that enables them a path to citizenship.
But, in the meantime, we continue to benefit from their sweat, toil, and tears. Affordable labor and their hard work is critical to picking the vegetable fields and fruit orchards to bring food to our tables. They continue to help raise our kids, clean our houses, care for our lawns.
Where’s the welcome mat that would enable these immigrants to come through the front door of citizenship in America? Was not that one of our founding principles?
The second event: The highest court in the land has made it simple for many states that are immobilized in the culture of inequality, to continue to ensure it is hard, maybe hopeless for blacks and other minorities to cast a vote in this great democratic land of ours.
On this Fourth of July, how can it be that there still exists a few American citizens that are confronted with unnecessary obstacles in order to simply cast their vote?
We should ponder on some of these things as we see the parades and fireworks, indulge in cookouts, and consume our favorite beverages.
We can start by asking two questions: Are we a country that welcomes immigrants? And, do all of our citizens have the same channel to utilizing a very basic freedom, a vote?
Shouldn’t we be worried? If the replies are not a swift and resounding YES!
Edited and Reprinted with Permission of USAonRace.com