martes, 4 de mayo de 2010

With malice toward none; with charity for all

First US flag

Edwin Francisco Herrera Paz

Portrait of the second president of the United StatesJohn Adams, second president of the United States of America is now remembered more as a great political philosopher than as a politician. He is also remembered for his speech in favor of the unity of the 13 colonies, persuading their representatives to seek a common cause. In the second half of the 18th century each one of the 13 colonies had established a Provincial Congress in order to become self-governed states. But while representatives of some states were in favor of independence from the English Crown and Parliament, others were in favor of keeping peaceful liaisons. John Adams leadership was the unifying force that led to the American Revolution, and finally to independence in 1776. John Adams said: “People and nations are forged in the fire of adversity”.

Portrait of Lincoln President of the United SatatesUnity has been fundamental to the strength of the “Giant of the North”. Following the purchase of Louisiana and the conquest of Mexico the United States expanded westward reaching the Pacific Ocean, although by 19th century a separating element appeared. Whilst the North wished to abolish slavery southern states won’t, a struggle that led to one of the bloodiest wars in history. War was finally won by the north under the rule of another great unifier: Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. On January 1 he issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared those slaves within the confederacy, forever free.

Flag of the United States of AmericaLincoln never let the Americans forget that the war involved a higher purpose, as he stated at the military cemetery at Gettysburg: "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Today, the essence of Lincoln can be read in a scrimption from his second inaugural address in the wall of Lincoln Memorial, at Washington D.C. “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....”

Thanks to principles based on unity, equality and liberty, the United Sates came to be the strongest and most prosperous nation upon the earth. Nevertheless, the superior purpose and the famous Lincoln´s ideals for which many Americans died are sometimes forgotten, and that’s why a State issues laws against a group of human beings whose only sin is to try to escape from the misery of their own countries seeking for the “American Dream”. These “illegal” immigrants are too many times exploited by unscrupulous people who take advantage of their status. Moreover, the very appellative of “illegal aliens” reduces them to the same status of a criminal. These persons are the waiters, construction workers and maids who arrived to your country in order to serve you, and to put a piece of bread over the table of their poor relatives in their Hispanic countries.

Lincoln´s ideals were forgotten. Dead Americans at Gettysburg died in vain. “With malice toward none; with charity for all”; empty words for a small group of xenophobic politicians. But today as in Lincoln´s days many voices rise to defend the innocent and oppressed. ¿Should it be that the shadow of division and segregation is covering our northern brother once again? We hope not.

Best wishes.

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