What I read: This America: The Case for the Nation, by Jill Lepore, Professor of American History at Harvard University. In this short book detailing the history of nationalism in the US and the forms it has taken, Lepore argues for a new Americanism devoted to "equality and liberty, tolerance and inquiry, justice and fairness, along with a commitment to national prosperity inseparable from an unwavering dedication to a sustainable environment the world over....Looking both backward and forward, it would know that right wrongs no man." She goes on to advise that if we do not examine our own past, honestly, the good and the bad, other people will. "They'll declare America a carnage. They'll call immigrants 'animals' and other countries 'shitholes.' They call themselves 'nationalists.' They'll say they can make America great again. Their history will be a fiction. They will say that they alone love this country. They will be wrong."
That line -"Their history will be a fiction." - sticks with me as we witness false narratives on a daily basis about what makes this country great. I've recently learned more about my own ancestry and discovered that I have ancestors who emigrated to America from Germany seeking asylum in the late 1600s. Even before this knowledge of how immigration and the seeking of asylum has directly affected me, I knew that protecting those seeking asylum is part of our American heritage and ideals. It is why I am here, and it may also be why you are here if you are also an American. I didn't have to learn my own family history to know this. I already knew that what makes this country great is its people, people from all parts of the world, a country that welcomes those who have seen our beacon in the darkness and who wish to be a part of this great experiment. It is us.
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