On the fourth day of the ancient Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, President Barack Obama told an audience of 500 people that freedom can prevail over tyranny. Hope can triumph over despair. Light can prevail over darkness.
Today we are seeking the light in two divisive issues, Donald Trump’s controversial call to block the entry of all Muslim refugees to the United States, and the best solution on our very own monument controversy. Though very different, both issues are bringing out the best and worst in people and reminding us of dark times in our past.
Donald Trump is not the only Republican presidential candidate who is spewing anti-immigration exclusion and hatred – though his views are the most extreme. Unfortunately, Trump’s myopic views on many subjects are appreciated – even applauded – by a large American audience including many blue collar workers who feel they now have a voice. Polls show that a majority of his voters would continue to follow Trump even if he ran for President as a third party candidate.
Although the U.S. has put in place multiple immigration policies that make it difficult for her newest residents to survive and thrive, America’s immigrants continue to successfully integrate into our society. Approximately 13 percent of the U.S. total population are foreign born, reported the New York Times, far fewer than in many countries. No matter how harsh their living conditions or how menial the jobs they work, immigrants continue to embrace the American dream and firmly believe they and their descendants will flourish in our country.
Today’s immigrant population chose to come to the U.S. America’s slaves did not. They had no choice of housing, jobs or what city they would live. It is impossible to say if they and their descendants would have enjoyed a better life in their home countries than in the U.S. The fact is, they did not have that choice.
Bigotry and hatred still flow freely in America. Anxiety about immigration is gripping the world. Yet both issues must be resolved through a thoughtful process that gives all voices a chance to be heard.
OPEN HOUSE/CHRISTMAS CONCERT SET FOR SUNDAY AT LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL
Monsignor Chris Nalty, who we remember from his lawyering days at Jones Walker, is inviting the public to join him and Archbishop Gregory Aymond at an open house which will introduce the Center of Jesus the Lord, a Catholic Charismatic Community that will now call the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel “home.” The reception will be held Sunday, December 13, at 4 p.m. at 1307 Louisiana Avenue.
Allan Katz spent 25 years as a political reporter and columnist at The Times-Picayune, and is now editor of the Kenner Star and host of several television programs, including the Louisiana Newsmaker on Cox Cable. Danae Columbus is executive producer of Louisiana Newsmaker, and has had a 30-year career in public relations, including stints at City Hall and the Dock Board. They both currently work for the Orleans Parish School Board. Among the recent candidates who have been represented by their public relations firm are City council members Stacy Head and Jared Brossett, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell.