Next time you visit the Statue of Liberty, take a moment to ponder the plaque.
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!
Those words from Emma Lazarus’ poem The New Colossus, are more relevant now than ever. Late last week, America closed its doors to some immigrants and travelers, thanks to a controversial executive order.
I wonder what might have happened if such a directive had been issued by Franklin Roosevelt in 1944, the year my grandparents emigrated from war-torn Poland. Would America really be a better, safer place without the hard-working war refugees who made a new life for themselves in the United States?
And what about the travel ban? Would keeping people out of the country based on their country of birth (something you don’t control) or their faith, really make America “great” again?
You know the answer.
Travel builds bridges. It helps us understand the world — and vice versa. And America is a nation of immigrants. They make us great, not our politicians.
These travel bans will have long-lasting implications for America and you. If you’re an American and are planning to go abroad, please take extra steps now to ensure your safety. The actions taken by your government have already made us deeply unpopular overseas, and this is just the beginning.
If you’re not an American, please go easy on us when you see us visiting your country. Don’t judge us by our leaders.
Building walls and closing doors isolates us and makes us less understanding. I lived in Central Europe during the Cold War, so I speak from personal experience. I can’t change the outcome of the presidential election, but I can speak out when I believe we are headed down the wrong path.
I can lift my lamp beside the golden door. And I will.
If you want to share your perspective on this issue, I’m listening. Head over to my Facebook page and leave a comment.
This week, I have even more truth to tell. But first, a few words about last week’s missive. Some of you were upset that I used my personal newsletter to voice concerns about my own profession — specifically, how journalists were being treated by the new administration. Some of you said we deserved to be called liars. You also claimed politics have no place in my newsletter and demanded that I stop.
I will do that, just as soon as the politics stop interfering with my ability to advocate for you. Don’t forget that I’ve disclosed my own political beliefs openly. If you insist on getting all of your news from a source that agrees with your views, then this might not be the newsletter for you.
Don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you unsubscribe. I will still love you and advocate for when you need help. But I won’t shut up.
Still with me? Good. In this week’s USA Today column, I talk about the changing definition of mass transit. You’ll be surprised. I was.
In my Washington Post column, I offer tips for how to avoid car rental toll fees. Read this before you head to Florida or Colorado — or anywhere.
Over in my Huffington Post column, I explain why you need to leave your wireless carrier now, and how to do it. And in my Travel Troubleshooter column (via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune) I ask why airline refunds take so long.
Good luck getting through the week. I’ll see you next Sunday.