The news these days is dominated by stories of people who are homeless. Some by choice having left their home, possessions, careers and in some cases family behind unable or unwilling to remain in a violent, polarized, unstable environment. Others have been forced out of their homes by fire, made to abandon everything they’ve struggled to build. Both instances make me heart sick. I feel for the parents who, for the sake of their children, have set out to face an uncertain future. I know the kick in the gut feeling of those who have to go on despite having nothing but ashes.
I was fortunate that the fire took my house and most of its contents but but my clothes were salvageable as were the few pieces of furniture which mattered. I lost nothing that couldn’t be replaced. Sadly that’s not true for the refugees. I am cheered by stories of people in Hungary and elsewhere defying their governments to provide food, clothing and homes for those crossing their borders. I am embarrassed that the US is taking in so few and that it could take years before anyone actually sets foot on our soil. What happened to “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!” We used to be the country that offered refuge. We have become so terrified of terror that we’ve turned our back on the very beliefs that made our country what it is – a melting pot where people could dream and hope. Will we ever be that country again? I hope so. Until then, I would have to say that our leaders have failed the test of humanity.