I once heard a great interview with historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. by Chris Lydon, a former WBUR public radio broadcaster. It was on the occasion of the publication of his last book, and Chris asked him what was the most important lesson he had learned from studying American history. It was something like this: "Never underestimate the tendency of the American public to become xenophobic."
I thought this was a striking statement. It came without pause or hesitation and so was clearly "top of mind" for Schlesinger. And, as we have watched political debates about immigration and immigrants during the past Congressional session and now during the Presidential primaries, we see it raised over and over.
There is a group in this state called the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) that provides information, support to immigrants, and political advocacy in support of the desire of people from around the world to have a chance to live the American Dream. A few weeks ago, a number of us joined to hear from Senator Kennedy and thank him for his efforts on behalf of this cause. We also heard from a young mother who described events that took place during an immigant raid in New Bedford last year. As Senator Kennedy remarked, there were things that happened in that raid that one could not have believed possible in this country.
I don't often use this blog to ask your support for political causes, but I do so now and hope you join many of us to help this organization.