To the editor: When we see the wounded traveler on the way to Jericho, what do we do? What do we do as Americans?
At the end of World War II, people all over the world spoke of the generosity and kindness of the American soldier…candy for kids...food for the starving, medicine for the sick. That is what it meant for most people who saw American soldiers during the war.
In the 20th century when disaster of any kind happened anywhere in the world, American aid and help was there. When millions of Russians were starving after World War I, America’s future president Herbert Hoover came to the rescue. Wherever there was suffering, famine and disease, American help and aid was there. Germany, Russia, China, Japan, our former enemies, all became our friends in times of need.
The Berlin Airlift, the Marshall Plan, the Peace Corps. It was not a time when America was considered “great” it was a time when America was considered “good.” Instead of making America great again, let’s all make America “good” again.
We might ask ourselves today, is America still a “good” country? A country that believes in moral courage, that helps the wounded, the persecuted, the immigrant, the minority, the traveler to Jericho? Or do we just cross the street, mind our own business and walk away?
We appear to have reached our nadir, the furthest we have ever been from “goodness” when we hear Americans chanting “send her back” to an elected congresswoman who happens to be a Muslim. We appear to have lost our goodness when immigrants to our country are separated from their children--treated inhumanely, and left to suffer in conditions that are reprehensible and abhorrent.
When Congresswoman Ilhan Omar returned to Minnesota after hearing so many of her fellow citizens chant “send her back,” she must have wondered, “What will I find at the airport? More abuse, condemnation and persecution?’ No. She was met by hundreds of supporters chanting WELCOME HOME, WELCOME HOME at the top of their lungs. Travelers who just happened to be at the airport yelled “welcome home” - Everyone, every person at that airport it seemed, said “welcome home”.
American goodness survives but we see less and less of it these days. We must always be a “good country” first before we try to be a great country. Before we try to make America great again, whatever that means.
The parable of the Good Samaritan is as good a guide as any to lead us back to “goodness.” Let us never cross the street, ignore suffering or tolerate abuse and persecution of any of our fellow citizens, or of the immigrants who come here for safety and asylum.