Home Opinion Thanksgiving Wishes

Thanksgiving Wishes


During this holiday season we give thanks for the freedoms we have in America. At the first Thanksgiving, our forefathers and foremothers celebrated being welcomed to a new land after years of oppression in their native country. Sadly, in the midst of a heated presidential election, the spirit of what made our country such a special, unique place to begin with has been quieted. Before we sit down with our families for dinner in our safe and secure homes, I ask you all to remember the words immortalized on the base of the statue of liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These words are the moral compass our nation has used for a guide towards justice and equality. Unfortunately, inflammatory and hateful rhetoric used to describe brave refugees who are simply seeking security, freedom, and opportunity have become common place in our polarized, political environment. This division does not reflect our shared values as a nation.

Think for a moment about the incredible sacrifices ordinary people are making to save their families. There have been stories of people taking to the ocean on nothing more than plywood to escape a war torn land. People have braved the mountains with nothing but the clothes on their back to bring their children closer to safety. We must not forget that those fleeing terror are families like our own – grandparents, parents and children – seeking a secure future.

We have heard extreme suggestions that the U.S. should build walls, create registries, and demean the humanity of our fellow global citizens. This is shameful. We must look at this crisis with the most basic lens of humanity. These are innocent people and we are calling them terrorists.

Refugees are not terrorists. They are fleeing from terror. Fear mongering and racist propaganda emboldens groups like ISIS rather than stopping them. This rhetoric gives power to the very terrorists we are trying to fight.

We are facing a test as to who we are as a nation. We have a choice. A choice to turn our backs on life or to recognize the gravity of this crisis and understand that the people who are fleeing their homes know fear deeper than any of us will ever imagine.

While many are trying to divide us in this time of uncertainty, we must not sacrifice liberty for security. We have a moral obligation to offer assistance during times of crisis. As a nation we believe in what can be. We lift people up and give them the strength to move forward. We are an exceptional country, and an exceptional state – we should be using that exceptionalism to better the lives of those in crisis rather than turning a blind eye out of fear.

The greatest gift in life is the knowledge that we are loved, loved for who we are. However, if there is anything better than being loved, it is loving. Showing love, compassion and mercy during this crisis in human history is our moral obligation.

Peace and blessings!