Have you ever stopped at a service center along the New Jersey Turnpike? If you have, you know that typically such places are crowded. The crowd is made up of many different people, people of color, language, religion and culture—America in microcosm. All of these people use the same bathrooms, drink from the same water fountains, and buy what they need or want at the same counters. We’ve come a long, long way in just a few hundred years. We still have a long, long way to go. Hopefully, on this election day, we will choose to go forward rather than backward.
Driving north on the turnpike you will see glimpses of the “Big Apple,” the city of New York. Whenever I see its marvelous skyline I think of the statue, Ms Liberty, and of Ellis Island, and the American Immigrant Wall of Honor. On that wall is a list of those who came to America’s shore and contributed mightily to the building of this nation. This list of immigrants includes every nationality, every religion, and every culture of the world! It is an appropriate wall—similar to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. These walls are welcoming walls, they are walls of honor, the only kind of walls appropriate in a free nation. On the Viet Nam wall you will see the name of a Muslim marine, a Catholic, Morman, Jehovah Witness soldier, a Jewish, Protestant, African-American airman, and a Hispanic sailor and you will find them also in Iraq, Afghanistan and everywhere else in the world where our service men and women are deployed. This is America—a great nation and growing greater as we seek to mend our many flaws and attempt to become what many have called the “American Dream” or a more perfected union.
Every principle on which this nation has been built has been “Trumped on” in the last year and a half—from the First Amendment to the Nineteenth Amendment—and even our foundational document, the Constitution, has been ignored in both rhetoric and behavior. How serious-minded Americans can subscribe to this is beyond me! Today will be the deciding moment. I wait with bated breath to see if the America I have known and loved will continue to grow or decline.