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What Would Ronald Reagan Say About Trump’s Un-American Tweet?

July 16, 2019

Lets study some history today.

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Recall when Republicans once were Ronald Reagan adherents? Now that Trump hijacked the GOP many are suffering Stockholm syndrome, and seem not to recognize the party they abandoned. There is also a segment of the GOP truly into white identity politics. But let us think about Reagan and what he said that can be overlayed with this week’s headlines.

After the racism from Trump this weekend, regarding those who disagree with US policies should “go back” to where they came from, means the GOP needs some lessons from Reagan. While Trump’s tweets and actions underscores how much he fails to know about the idea of America, Reagan, for all his policy shortcomings, had the knowledge concerning the meaning of America down pat.

Here then is what Reagan said in 1988 about immigrants and the American Dream.

“America represents something universal in the human spirit. I received a letter not long ago from a man who said, ‘You can go to Japan to live, but you cannot become Japanese. You can go to France to live and not become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey, and you won’t become a German or a Turk.’ But then he added, ‘Anybody from any corner of the world can come to America to live and become an American.”

With history as my guide I think there is another path we could charter in this land to bring immigrants into the family of our nation. Consider what was done with the Homestead Act of the 1860s. How about such a plan for the 21st Century? Striving immigrants could be given the opportunity to acquire housing in depressed urban and rural areas. There are many paths we could take if we only left racism at the garbage bin.

About 15 years ago a young man who I knew here in Madison WI–an immigrant from El Salvador–told me that he knew in his gut that he was always an American, even though he was not born here. He had studied the Founders and I know he had more background and grasp of the meaning of this nation than many who had been born here. That is, indeed, the beauty of the American idea. The very thing that Trump has no clue about, as evidenced by his behavior, is what that young man from Central America knew so well.

And so it goes.

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