Remains of Berlin wall, detail of old concrete wall, Germany
My family, on both parental lines of ancestry, have been in the United States for generations, and some of them for centuries. Still, the current immigration tension hits home with me. All my family were immigrants (unless I have some Native American blood in my ancestral lines, though I am not aware of any).
We live in a nation described as a “Melting Pot”. Various streams of immigration have occurred over the relatively short history of colonization that characterizes our past. The English, the Spanish, the French were the first streams of immigrants. At various times the Irish, the Chinese, the Italian, the German, the Puerto, the Vietnamese, the Mexican and many other people groups have added to that stream.
I am neither a blind patriot nor a self-loathing radical when it comes to this nation’s history. This is no time for naked idealism. Our past indiscretions in the way we treated Native Americans shouldn’t be brushed under the rug, but the great Democratic experiment that has been a shining city on a hill to the world should not be discounted either.
The truth is nuanced. The truth is messy. Idealists doesn’t necessarily create falsehoods (though sometimes they do), but they emphasize the truth that serves them. We should not be blind to any portion of the truth. As a wise man once said, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it” (or something like that).
But, the aspects of that experiment that shine a light in the world include the bedrock value of freedom and a welcoming attitude toward the streams of foreigners who have all come here to make a better life. This has been a land of opportunity, if not always perfectly available to all, that is still exemplary in the world despite its warts…. until recently.
So here’s a thought, but first, consider these statistics:
In 2016, in 26 states, the number of non-Hispanic whites who died was greater than the number of non-Hispanic whites who were born in those states, according to an analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau that was released last week. The 26 states were a diverse group in terms of geography and demographics, from Maine to Alabama to California. Nationwide in 2016, there were 0.98 births for every death among non-Hispanic whites, a rate lower than that of blacks (1.71), Asians (3.87) and Latinos (4.88).
I have seen numbers like these before on a national scale. We are tottering on the edge of population regression. People get married less, marry later, have fewer children, and these factors contribute to our population decline – at least among white Americans. Most European countries are well beyond us in this population regression cycle.
Blacks, Asians, Latinos and others have more children than whites do. If the trend continues, whites will become the minority as compared to non-whites. My children went to a school district in which whites are already the minority.
So what are the implications of this development?
depositphoto Image ID: 12096314 Copyright: ZouZou
I saw this posted on Facebook:
Apartheid was legal,
The Holocaust was legal,
Slavery was legal,
Colonialism was legal.
Legality is a matter of power, not justice.
I am not sure of the point of this meme, but it got me thinking. For one thing, power and injustice don’t always go together, but there is certainly a strong correlation between the powerful and injustice to the powerless.
In that context, think about these words from the most famous sermon given by Jesus:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Jesus was not talking to the powerful in this sermon. He was preaching good news to the poor. He wasn’t urging the poor, the downcast, the meek to rise up and riot or challenge the power of the powerful. He was telling them they were blessed, for great is their reward in heaven!