At What Point Do We Stop Calling America the Land of the Free?
At What Point Do We Stop Calling America the Land of the Free?

At What Point Do We Stop Calling America the Land of the Free?

The country's legacy of tolerance can't continue to excuse its actions.
March 5, 2017
4 mins read

America Today

The country’s legacy of tolerance can’t continue to excuse its actions.

By Mary Kiser, Trident Technical College

“The land of the free and the home of the brave” may be white America’s reality, but in the lives of immigrants, people of color and women, the country has yet to reach its expectations.

The United States remains a nation in vogue. The country’s allure reels people in with its promise of First Amendment freedoms like press, religion and speech. From the outside looking in, foreigners believe the United States is a welcoming haven, far from the oppression and persecution of their family, society and government, or lack thereof.

Since Syria’s crisis, the United States could help displaced refugees and their loved ones, people who are surviving in a real-time version of “The Walking Dead,” just sans zombies. There is little food, water, shelter and safety. Millions are leaving the only home they know, even though the risks are just as dangerous as their war-torn country. Children, left in a hell without their mom and dad, are forced to face a predatory world alone.

The United States could help, but the country is too busy playing word games. Syrian refugees are not only dealing with a perpetual nightmare, but also with the stereotypes the U.S. assigns. President Donald Trump purports the idea that Syrian refugees are threats to national safety and security.

“President Donald Trump signed an executive order that effectively suspends the entry of Syrian refugees into the United States indefinitely. As he signed the order, [he] said that this was ‘to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States,’” a CNN article reads.

America Isn’t Living up to its “Land of the Free” Reputation
Image via Time

While the nation waves its own flag of love and liberty, the country’s inclusion only extends to white American citizens. President Trump’s callous remarks against immigrants, people of color and women reflect poorly on not just him, but Americans. Although he makes offensive and outlandish judgments about Mexicans being “rapists,” talks about wanting to “bomb the shit out of [ISIS]” in countries like Iraq and Syria, brags about dating a ten-year-old in a decade, harasses a youth choir or talks about his “piece of ass” daughter Ivanka, he was still voted into office.

Protestors have voiced their disdain with the Women’s March on Washington, “Not My President” Day and pussy hats. The commotion is just enough for people to point fingers at the racist, sexist bigot instead of themselves, but voters are just as liable as the commander-in-orange.

The United States should be united, not divided, but the country’s flaws are more apparent now than then. Hope is still alive, despite the chaos within the states. There are ways to create social and political change without following the president’s lead. Instead of lambasting, bashing or bullying, Americans can speak out, not spit, in the face of adversity.

Like Martin Luther King Jr. says, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

If the United States chooses to ignore past mistakes only to repeat them again, it will remain in the past, even as the nation moves toward the future.

The nation should apologize to immigrants for the “criminal” stigma society and the president himself places on their heritage, not to mention the lack of opportunities, aid and acceptance that the United States is too afraid to proffer.

The nation should apologize to African Americans for the systematic enslavement and abuse they have endured and still endure today. Despite the Civil War, Reconstruction, Civil Rights Movement and President Barack Obama’s two terms, voter discrimination, corrupt law enforcement and the KKK still pervade.

The nation should also apologize to Native Americans, the only natural-born citizens of the United States, for forcing them to relocate, resettle and redefine their culture. They should apologize to women, the individuals that bear, raise and educate generation after generation, for outdated gender roles and inequality. The nation needs to admit its wrongs, so the children of today can advise the children of tomorrow.


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