An Obituary For America
November 26, 2018
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of America. This past weekend America, at the young old age of 242 years, passed away while launching tear gas at women, children and men seeking asylum on its southern border. For the past two years we have watched America slowly giving up its fight to sustain those long held values which founded a great nation, welcomed us from around the world and forged us into its hopeful dream. Yesterday, while most of us worked on finishing off our Thanksgiving leftovers, America slipped away from us.
America didn’t like to talk about its health problems, but for a few decades now and especially in recent years it had grown frail and thoroughly riddled by resurgent ailments like white supremacy, racism, isolationism and internal gun violence. Treatment was repeatedly refused, usually for economic reasons, and the dark spiral to tear gassing the innocent began. With many months to prepare for the arrival of the asylum seekers with aid, increased federal staff to process their applications, and a clear signal of a recognition of their basic human dignity, America chose instead to send in armed troops and escalate things to a violent confrontation.
America is survived immediately by a meaner, nastier sibling who on the surface reminds us a little bit of the old America, but is too driven by fear and selfishness to understand the greatness it could achieve. This surviving America no longer allows our lady to stand with torch held high calling the masses to us to help us create and share the cherished American Dream, but she is silenced and mourns quietly, her historic call for the moment stolen and silenced.
But America is also survived by some extended family who haven’t given up hope, who mourn with those gassed at our border and remember when America was a beacon, a dream of what could be. There are some standing in the wake of America’s passing who would not have the deepest promise and founding values of America lost and forgotten. Gifts and honorariums in memory of our dear deceased America are requested in the form of letters, emails and phone calls to your congressional representatives. Ask them to stop the violence on the southern border. Ask them to demand that we recognize the human dignity of those coming to us, and give them a fair and honest chance to seek asylum and refuge with us. Ask them to stand against the fear and the racism that has crippled the American dream. Remind them of who we are. And for America’s sake, vote a better future into existence every chance you get. Thank you.
“In 1838, the Jesuit priests who ran the country’s top Catholic university needed money to keep it alive. Now comes the task of making amends.”
By RACHEL L. SWARNS April 16, 2016
This is an important story for the Catholic Church, for Georgetown University and for our whole nation. Our deep historical sin of human trafficking, and the need to make amends for that sin, are not simply political or financial issues, they are the stories of fellow human beings with names and families that need to be told and owned by everyone in America, today. Even if you are not descended from human beings sold and exchanged as property, it is not so difficult to empathize and imagine the generational pain and impact of these kinds of wrongs in our history.
Today and tomorrow we need to be so much more aware of every person’s dignity, and also for yesterday, we need to be aware of a debt owed to those who carried more than their share of the cost at arriving where we are today as a nation. If first responders and soldiers are heroes for serving our country, and I believe that they are, then so also are the named and unnamed, remembered and forgotten slaves who toiled and served the economic engines at the birth of our nation. They may have not chosen their fate, but we can still honor their existence, repent the sins which enslaved them, and give them and their descendants their due. Honor them. Never forget them. Making amends is not about changing history, because that is something we cannot do. Making amends to them and to their families is about changing our now, and changing our future. That is something we can and must do.
This is an important story.