“The City on a Hill”

Recently, the topic of immigration has been at thew forefront of all political discussion. Questions like Who do we keep out? and Who gets to stay in? are being debated and challenged from the left and from the right. The loud uproar raised by supporters of Donald Trump are  being met with the equally loud shouts of protest from the liberal. But it should be asked: who is right?

It is wrong to assume that every migrant into this country is illegal or has evil intentions. It borders, even becomes racism when we assume that a man who does not speak our language has a desire to wreck the freedom we have in the United States. How dare we assume that a human being from another nation should not be allowed when we are all descended from immigrants?

On the other hand, it is wrong to let every single migrant into the United States while ignoring the possibility of terrorism. It is foolish to ignore the possibility that if the wrong person gets in, people will die. It is wrong to neglect the safety of the people in the name of the people.

In a muddy situation like this, it is important to find a reasonable decision. No, we should not ban immigrants completely. But nor should we allow completely open borders. It is wise to vet immigrants from certain nations, such as Syria and Iran, that have been war torn and threatening. It is wrong to compromise the safety of the American people. It is time to act tougher on foreign policy. When we are threatened in the case of Iran, we should not buckle and allow them to possess nuclear weapons. Where is the logic in such a decision?

When this change happens, we need to consider these questions. If we ever openly confront Iran, we should consider why. When Russia flexes their muscles and we flex ours, we need to know why. And then we need to have an open mind about it. While being tough on immigration from nations such as Iran, we need to consider the needs of refugees. We need to care for these people. We need to figure out ways to aide them. If this is not letting them all into the United States, we need to at least send aide to them. There is no wisdom or humanity or freedom in a nation that keeps that freedom to itself. That freedom would not be deserved. Ronald Reagan, in his farewell address in 1989, described the United States as a “city on a hill”:

And that’s about all I have to say tonight, except for one thing. The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the ‘shining city upon a hill.’ The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free. I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

It is vital for us to remain a beacon of freedom. If we cherish anything as Americans, it should be that we as Americans are free. And if we cherish and defend that, we will remain free. But the day that we give that up, the day that we keep that freedom to ourselves, we will be putting out that flame that has shone so bright throughout history. And we will then no longer have need to call ourselves free.









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