A.R. Michigan

Refuge (e)

We are proud to be Americans, proud to promote our ideas and values to every corner of the globe. Yet, so many of us believe that we are entitled to liberty, education, and equal opportunities. Why do we hoard so many of these gifts, and refuse to share them with the rest of the world? Those who flee from war torn lands seek refuge in the safety the American promise of hope and prosperity, only to be rejected and ignored. This, is not something to be proud of.

The primary concern of the president is the well being and safety of the American people. However, as a leading power, we have made it our responsibility to care for the rest of the world as well. In the eyes of many, we serve as a “superhero” of sorts, constantly intervening in foreign affairs and conflicts across the globe. We take pride in our positive influence, promoting democracy and equal rights wherever we go. In 1980, only fifty-eight nations were run under a democratic system. A mere fifteen years later, that number had practically doubled, with one hundred-fifteen democratic countries. Literacy rates have improved by more than thirty three percent in the last twenty-five years, thanks to American Aid efforts around the world, and more than three million lives are saved each year worldwide, thanks to aid immunization programs. It is vital that we continue to offer assistance in every way we can, not only to promote the well being of humanity, but to further develop and enhance our relationship with the people and leaders of other nations. The United States too desperately needs the aid of other countries, on occasion. After Hurricane Katrina, ninety-five countries responded to the tragedy with more than just condolences—rather, they offered financial support. Just as a king with no subjects has no purpose, the United States of America cannot exist without ardent connections with other countries. These connections need to be vibrant than a mundane alliances that describe trading laws and border agreements. Instead, these connections need to be founded on genuine concern for the safety and well being of people, no matter what country they are from. We are so fortunate to live in America, where the fifty stars can be seen from any backyard shining brightly against the majestic blue backdrop that is the endless sky of opportunity and freedom. As we daydream from the comfort of the living room when the daylight fades, it is impossible to fathom a life stricken with death and destruction. Yet this is the reality for so many millions of people. No matter their ethnicity or race, refugees are first and foremost, people. Human beings displaced from their homes, like a newborn child forced into the world. The light is blinding and the child is disoriented and afraid. Although the list of differences between the average American citizen and a Syrian refugee could be several pages long, we are above all, humans. Were all one minute old, once. Although they might be “a world away”, that didn’t stop the United States from reaching out to the citizens of Berlin when they were trapped within the walls of their own city by the Communists. Some may claim that our country should not be responsible for these people, and are afraid that allowing these foreigners to make our country their home would increase the risk for terror and acts of hate and violence on our soil. We must abstain from believing the poisonous venom that is the rhetoric of the close minded. These people—these mothers and fathers and families would not go through the agonizing process in attempts to seek refuge in our country if their goal was to harm us. We must see these people for who they are. We must recognize that they are not defined by being refugees any more than we are defined by our ACT scores. We are all people, living on the same planet. We all deserve a safe place to reside, enough food and water to eat and drink, and to live and take part in activities that make us happy, so long as they do not disturb anyone else. Mothers and fathers and children are desperately seeking our help, and we are acting as though there is nothing we can do. Without action, America’s great ideals are nothing more than words on a page. It’s time to live up to and exceed our own expectations, and continue to be a role model for countries of all affiliations. The time is now. 

Clarkston Community Schools

Eisele IB ELA 12


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