America Welcomes the World

 

In May of 1895, the ship Teutonic left the port in Liverpool, England, bound for the United States of America. On the ship was a three-year-old girl, Hannah Askew. She and her family were traveling to America to be reunited with her father. The family had moved from England to Australia in 1888, because of the shortage of work in England. Life in Australia, however, was not much better than life in England, so they had moved back to England. When the Panic of 1893 hit, Hannah’s father went to America to find work. He worked sporadically in different jobs until he got a well-paying job in the iron mines near Ishpeming, Michigan. After procuring lodging he sent for his family. Now the family was coming to meet him and begin their new life in the United States.

The ship had rough sailing and Hannah, her brother and sister, and mother were constantly sick. The quarters on the ship were cramped and miserable and she was kept inside for much of the voyage. The family finally arrived in the United States on July 3, 1895, and were welcomed at Ellis Island. That night they stayed at a friend’s house who fed them a dinner of bread and milk. They traveled from New York by train to Michigan and were reunited with their father. Hannah Askew is my great-grandmother and one of the millions of immigrants that came to America in the 1800’s.

As immigrants like Hannah entered New York Harbor, they passed under the welcoming arms of the Statue of Liberty. On the pedestal of the status are these immortal words:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these the homeless tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door!”

The people who came to America were usually not the rich or the famous; they were the tired, the poor, and the wretched seeking a golden door. That golden door was opened for them in America and so they came seeking a golden opportunity an opportunity that was found in the great cotton and wool mills of the large cities, opportunity that was found in the mines, the farms, the west, and the railroad

These immigrants contributed to our culture and much of the richness that we now enjoy. Immigrants from Norway and the Netherlands brought many of our Christmas traditions. Italian immigrants brought some of our favorite foods. Immigrants from Ireland brought their legends of Saint Patrick. Movies were introduced to America by the Russian Jews and the Greeks. The log cabin was introduced by the Swedes, and the Germans organized symphonies and clubs. Because of the diversity of the cultures that are mixed to form the American culture, we have the richest culture in the world. America’s welcome became America’s wealth.

Since the days of the Ellis Island, we have continued to welcome immigrants and their descendants. We have strived to accept and befriend all people into our churches and our schools. We have elected them to public office and befriended them in our neighborhoods.

Although our doors may not be opened as wide as they were in 1895, when my great-grandmother arrived, our hearts are open still. In our hearts America still welcomes the world. We welcome them by carrying their burdens, by lighting their way, by reaching out to them.

The United States has helped people recover from war, and improved living conditions in third world countries. We have been a major contributor in disaster relief throughout the world and have been the intermediaries and helpers of many struggling governments.

In no war in which the United States has been engaged has it seized property or land from an enemy as a treasure of war. Always we have graciously helped the people in countries regain their lives. After World War II, the United States gave Japan millions of dollars to build steel factories and to help restore what had been destroyed by the war. When soviet armies blockaded Berlin, we airlifted thousands of tons of food through the winter to keep the people from starving.

The United States has also played a prominent role in disaster relief around the world. When there were earthquakes in India the US helped immediately. Rescue workers from the US were sent to help. Food was sent from the Red Cross and many religious institutions. When rain waters flooded the country of Bolivia, we again sent workers and food to help the suffering people.

Just as our government reaches out to others, so do our people. As individuals, we welcome the world. The United States is home to thousands of humanitarian organizations that routinely send help and supplies to the poor and needy of the world. In high school I traveled to Peru with one of these organizations. We took simple things such as nails, hammers, crayons, beads, and educational supplies, and we taught them how to use them. We taught them how to build an efficient stove out of mud, and helped put in a water system to help with sanitation problems. We helped them to improve their overall experience of life by taking America’s richness and sharing it with them.

Many other people help the poor and needy people of the world. We have organized groups like the Oulessabougou Alliance whose mission is to help the people of Mali. This organization raises money by selling goods produced by villagers in Mali to people in America. This money then goes back to Mali to pay teachers and to send educational and medical supplies. By helping in this way, they do not make the people dependent on America for leadership and organization. Almost all of the leaders in the alliance are from Mali and will continue to live there and support their country. The founders of the alliance have reached out with their hearts and helped to take the golden door to Mali.

America has welcomed the world in different ways throughout its history. In the 1800’s we welcomed thousands of people to our shores and our way of life. These people brought their culture with them and enriched our culture by it. People still come to America and we should welcome them still. Today we welcome the people of the world into our hearts as we not only welcome them to our shores but also build them up in their native lands and help them better their lives. Our welcome reaches across borders, it embraces all people, it seeks to better the whole world.


This text is a slightly reworked speech that I gave as part of a Independence Day speech competition in 2001. I think it is pertinent today

Vote FOR Evan McMullin . . . not AGAINST another candidate.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, … to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” Abraham Lincoln’s immortal words seem, on this election day, to call to us from the grave. The Civil War had not yet ended when Lincoln spoke these words, yet they were a call to action. Today, as they were in 1865, they are a call for civility, a call for unity, a call for loving our neighbor.

While this election season has drawn out some of the worst in the citizenry of our great nation, it has also drawn out some of the best. I have seen friends thoughtfully and courteously engage with others in discussing the candidates and issues so vitally important in this election. I have seen neighbors kindly entertain conversations about the important problems and the great strengths of our country. I have seen politicians and statesmen stand up for just and true principles before the derisive noise of the popular media and powerful political influence.

Because I subscribe to Lincoln’s dearly held belief that we are better as a unified country, I have decided this election to vote for a man for president who I believe is uniquely qualified to help us achieve that unity – Evan McMullin. Evan McMullin is described quite well by a quote from years ago by a great religious leader and statesman, Ezra Taft Benson, who said: “Unlike the political opportunist, the true statesman values principle above popularity, and works to create popularity for those political principles which are wise and just.” Evan McMulllin is this kind of man. He has taken a stand for our founding principles of individual liberty and our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He has taken this stand in the face of overwhelming odds and despite very low chances of actually winning the race for the Presidency.

If we as a country are to return to our moral and founding principles, I believe we must stand for what we believe in and cast our individual votes for people that embody those principles. Please don’t just vote against a candidate. Join me and hundreds of thousands of others in voting for Evan McMullin for President of the United States of America.
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Obama’s Lack of Trust in the American People

The free world is cringing at the liberty-killing health care mandate that is President Obama’s signature piece of legislation.  There are many aspects of ObamaCare that are distasteful to the American people but the purpose of this short article is not to discuss those details of this law.  I’d like to discuss what I believe may be one of the motivating forces which moved Obama, and liberal Democrats in general, to craft such an onerous piece of legislation.

One of the motivating factors of the liberal agenda, especially as manifest in ObamaCare, is a fundamental lack of trust in the American people.  The liberal agenda assumes that a few elite elected officials in their offices in Washington know better what is good for the American people than the American people do.  This assumption fundamentally means that our government doesn’t trust us to solve our own problems but assumes that they have all the answers.

ObamaCare claims to address many problems that do exist in the health insurance system.  It claims to “make insurance more affordable,” to “set up a new competitive health insurance market,” and to “bring greater accountability to health care” (whitehouse.gov).  Most of the American people would agree that these are worthy goals and that these ends should indeed be achieved to fix our current health care system. The trouble isn’t that the goals are wrong but that they are being addressed by government!  The liberal establishment in government asks us to trust them that they know what is right.  The goals of health care reform, however, can be much more efficiently achieved by leaving these problems and their solutions to the people.  Leave the money in the hands of the people and allow them to address their own problems.

Ronald Reagan addressed this lack of trust when he said, “‘Trust me’ government asks that we concentrate our hopes and dreams on one man; that we trust him to do what’s best for us. But my view of government places trust not in one person or one party, but in those values that transcend persons and parties. The trust is where it belongs-in the people. The responsibility to live up to that trust is where it belongs, in their elected leaders. That kind of relationship, between the people and their elected leaders, is a special kind of compact” (July 17, 1980).

As Reagan stated, our government today needs to return the trust to the people. The values that Reagan spoke of that “transcend persons and parties” are the values that were fundamental to the founding of our country.  These values are those of Life, Liberty, and Property. We trust our elected leaders to preserve these values — we also trust them to never encroach on these values.  In this election year candidates for office should remember that the American people trust them only to the extent that they trust the American people.  The role of government is not to increase itself, but to protect the liberties of those who are its creators — the people.

I welcome your comments and discussion.


Some interesting side notes. . . This graphic represents the bureaucracy created by ObamaCare! I look at graphs like this a lot in my work and this is one of the most confusing ones I’ve seen.  It makes a good children’s game to follow all the lines and see where they go!

The Business of Family

While I was exploring the University of Texas at Austin this July, I discovered a statue and a plaque that were quiet interesting to me. The plaque was at the base of a statue of a father and mother holding their young child. They are looking upward together.  They are striving for a better world and teaching their child to do the same. The plaque reads,

“The family is the foundation upon which the world of business is built, and it is a vital force in the local, state and national economy.”

TheFamilyGroup

TheFamilyStatueUTAustin

The statue is by Michigan native Charles Umlauf who worked at UT Austin as a sculpture instructor. His works can be seen across America from the Smithsonian and New York city to Central Texas.   I believe that Mr. Umlauf catches the essence of the importance of the family in this simple statement and with his statue.  The family is not simply an old tradition, it is the fundamental building block of society.  Without a family with a mother and a father to teach them, children grow up with a skewed sense of their place in society.  They struggle to understand their civic duty and they have more difficulty becoming a contributing citizen. It is important that our society preserve this fundamental unit.  If this unit crumbles or if it is forcibly replaced by a government or social activists, the very fundamental part of our free society will disappear and we will be left to stumble in the dark.

And Here We Go Again


Let it die. Just let it die. As difficult as this may sound, letting the American car industry just die would be better than what our radical president has done. I was very concerned today when I heard that President Obama had fired the chairman of General Motors. The most distressing thing about this is that I was not surprised at all when I heard the news. What is really happening and what kind of a statement is the president really making when he fires a chief executive. I think it is several fold.

First I think it is a gesture of no confidence in the ability of American’s to fix their own problems. The CEO may have been corrupt, he may have been unwise, it may be a good thing to have him gone from the company but it is not the federal government’s job to remove him. Why, you may ask, is it not within the realm of the government to do this? It’s quite simple actually. If you or I do not like the owner of the local grocery store because he sells things at an inflated cost and simply doesn’t do business as well as the new store down the street, we have no right to march down to the store and force him to leave his job. That would be preposterous. We simply would never do that. Why then do we feel that it is our job to fix the auto industry. If they can’t compete, let them die.

Second, I think it shows arrogance on the part of the government–the entire government. Not only the president is to blame, nor can we pin the blame on one party or the other. Why does the government assume that simply because they are in a position of power that they have the ability to direct the affairs of industry. They may think that they have good ideas and their rhetoric may sound good on television and in the news, but that does not qualify them to spend our money because we want to avoid the penalties of our own actions.

As I’ve written before, this whole thing smacks of extreme socialism leading toward the moster of comunism. This administration ran on a platform of change. Well that is not a new thing. Others have run on that platform before and society has been damaged greatly by the radical changes misguided leaders have made.