In Celebration of Hyphenated Americans

The reason we are doing better economically than most countries, Senator Chris Murphy, D-CT), told the German Marshal Fund of the United States yesterday in Philadelphia, is “because we remain a very young work force. Why? Because of immigration.”

You may remember Murphy for his two-day filibuster for gun reform after the killings in Orlando last month. It might also be noted, in the “small world” category, that he beat Linda McMahon, president of World Wrestling Entertainment, for his senate seat. Donald Trump is a member of WWE’s Hall of Fame, although he was booed off the stage during his 2013 induction ceremony.

Murphy, who is the minority chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee’s European subcommittee, reaffirmed something the Donalds (Rumsfeld and Trump) don’t seem to get – that Europe remains our most important ally and trading partner.

As he has watched the recent backsliding away from democracy in the Philippines, in Turkey, in Hungary – all at the hands of crude bullies – he reminded us that Europe and America remain models of what nations should aspire to – even if we don’t always live up to our ideals.

The genius of America, said Murphy, is our ability to make people full Americans and yet still in touch with their own particular histories, to be proud of what they have become and where they have come from.

“Europe is having a hard time with this,” he noted. “We need to teach it the lessons of our own immigration history” or Europe may not survive as we have known it.

It is a variation of the story Michelle Obama told later: “The story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, who kept on striving, and hoping, and doing what needed to be done.”

It’s the story of America at its best.

James G. Blaine

About James G. Blaine

Most of us undervalue what seem our tiny contributions to our communities and the world. As a result, we feel powerless, even victimized. But, like the butterfly effect in science, the lives we lead with our families, in our communities, and at work – all the so-called little things we do – collectively change the world. As I grow older, my ambition grows more modest but not less important: to participate fully and to contribute what I can. That’s my goal with this blog.