Xenophobia is running rampant in this country.
I guess it shouldn’t be a huge surprise, since at times of great economic suffering, demaogues have often made hay.
But it’s scary to behold in the year 2010.
Just look at the reaction to the so-called Ground Zero mosque, and to the taking of dogs to intimidate mosque worshipers in California, and to the opposition against mosques all across the country.
Or look at the anti-immigrant sentiment that boiled over in Arizona and is simmering in state after state.
Amazingly, 49 percent of Americans are in favor of amending the Constitution to deprive citizenship rights to children of immigrants who are here illegally.
There’s a battle on right now for the soul of this country.
Are we going to be a nation that says, “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”
Or are we going to be a nation that says, “Get out of here. We don’t want you. Go home. We got ours, and you can’t have any of it.”
Are we a generous and welcoming nation, or a fearful and bigoted and parsimonious one?
We all have a say in that answer. And it’s not a question we can afford to dodge.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his article “Petraeus’s New Offensive: Preparing the Way for Obama to Retract the Withdrawal Pledge.”
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter