we are not that kind of country.

We are sanctuary for the hungry,

the homeless, the huddled,

held together by an idea

our immigrant fathers believed in.

Rendered, it meant independence.

Pursued, it kindled war, ordnance,

a fighting chance. Forty thousand

musket balls, by themselves, did not

shape the boundaries on which we

map our days. To draw our borders,

we needed more than firecakes.

More than a pound of meat

with bone and gristle,

or salt fish and a gill of peas.

We needed the faith and grit of people

who were not yet Americans.

To be an American is to

recognize the sacrifice

of the widow and the orphan;

it is to understand the weft of tent

cities expecting caravans,

and the heft of a child in a camp

not meant for children, or sitting

before a judge awaiting judgement.

What do we say to the native

whose lands we now inhabit?

What do we say to our immigrant

fathers who held certain truths

to be self-evident?

Do we now still pledge to each

other our lives, our fortunes,

our sacred honor.

There are no kings in America.

Only gilded men we can topple

again and again.

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