Where is that shining beacon on the hill?
What our politics is consumed by currently is not the first instance of America’s resistance to immigrants.
If you have not already watched The Chinese Exclusion Act on PBS, you should. This is where it started, to our shame.
“No nation can afford to let go its high ideals. The founders of the American Republic – asserted the principle – that all men are created equal, and made this fair land a refuge for the whole world. Its manifest destiny, therefore, is to be the teacher and leader of nations in liberty.
Its supremacy should be maintained by good faith and righteous dealing, and not by the display of selfishness and greed.
But now, looking at the actions of this generation of Americans in their treatment of other races, who can get rid of the idea that that Nation, which Abraham Lincoln said was conceived in liberty, waxed great through oppression, and was really dedicated to the proposition that all men are created to prey on one another?
How far this Republic has departed from its high ideals – and reversed its traditionary policy – may be seen in the laws passed against the Chinese.”
~ Yan Phou Lee, from The Chinese Must Stay, published in the North American Review.