Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
How many thousands of people have sailed in to New York harbor and seen the lady rising up with her beautiful torch over the horizon and possibly felt, this is now my country, this is where I was meant to be and this is my America? And now descendants of those same immigrants from long ago have become bigoted and hateful and no longer want people to come and live the promise of America. Sadly, the fire in the lady's torch has burnt out.
Hate groups that have flourished in this nation over the years are now making a comeback, one such group is the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan, as it is called, has been around in three different iterations since the first one was founded in 1865 by former Confederate soldiers from Tennessee. Its purpose was to restore white supremacy in the aftermath of the American Civil War. Klan members adopted masks and robes that hid their identities and added to the drama of their night rides, their chosen time for attacks. Klansmen rode on horses, and dragged black people and some white republicans from their homes, assaulting them by whipping or lynching them. To rid the country of the Klan during reconstruction, Congress passed laws and enforced them and the 1st iteration of the KKK was put down 1872.
The 2nd iteration of the KKK, was formed in 1915 when a strong patriotism developed in the country and the Klan gathered support from people in the South, the North, and the Midwest. During this time the practice of burning crosses became a popular form of intimidation, and has been used in the more modern iteration of the Klan. This era of the KKK was brought down by laws passed and enforced by Congress and the bad economy during the Great Depression.
The 3rd iteration of the Klan is the modern one which still exists. It was organized in the late 1940s and was active during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's. The Klan's membership is around 8 thousand now, but they have allied themselves with the Skinheads and other white supremacists groups.
Anti-immigration is now a big deal in the United States and has been promoted by many on television and on the Radio, so that now many of these hate groups are making a comeback and new ones are being formed. I find it difficult to understand why racism is still alive and well in this country. One would think, with all the diversity we have, and with older generations that did not experience this diversity dying out and with all the education in diversity that is now being taught in schools and lived by students in those same schools, racism would be dying out as well. But, the more I read and the more I watch and hear in the media, this does not seem to be the case.
We, as a society need to learn to live peacefully with one another and put aside old hate and embrace our diversity. I fear we will not survive if we do not learn this lesson. There is more than enough pain and suffering in the world; we don't need to add to it!