I don’t know about you, but this “new America” is a foreign land to me. The events of the last several days have changed the United States in ways I never could have imagined. And they make it essential for each one of us reflect on what we stand for, our values, and what America should be about.

American-valuesCall me naïve but I thought that the United States was a nation that stood firmly against oppression and authoritarian rule. Just in case you haven’t read it lately, here is the inscription proudly displayed on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

As part of signing the Geneva Conventions, we agreed to take in refugees from war-torn areas, not turn them away but the refugee program has been suspended for 120 days leaving desperate people in limbo.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Is This The “New America?”

And it is puzzling that people from seven countries have been banned from entering the US to protect America from terrorism yet not one person from any of these countries has ever committed an act of terrorism on our soil. Several thousand US citizens, however, have been murdered here in terrorist acts by nationals from countries that are not banned.  What is going on here?

new-AmericaI always believed that my country was a welcoming land of opportunity. That religion or ethnic background was not acceptable grounds for discrimination. And that our Constitution actually meant something. Tony Lopez, Police Commander in Denver, told peaceful demonstrators this weekend to “Stop doing anything that could be construed as free speech without a permit. Free speech without a permit? Seriously? We all need to be extremely concerned.

It’s frightening to see long-held American values being undermined under the auspices of “extreme vetting.” It’s disheartening to see the way too many political figures are remaining silent instead of voicing concerns. And you only have to turn on the TV or read the newspapers to see that the sharp divisions that surfaced during our last presidential election are growing deeper and more malevolent every day.

What are your values?

This is not a time to turn a blind eye to what is happening. It’s time to dig deep and decide what is important to you.

What values do you hold dear?

Which values don’t matter to you anymore?

Which ones are you willing to speak out and take action to protect?

In this “new America” every one of us needs to look carefully at our choices. Today. Tomorrow. And every day going forward.  

Because our choices matter.

Our actions matter.

And our voices matter.

 

Bonnie Pond is an inspiring speaker and founder of the international Make Your Life Count Movement. She’s the author of The Power of Three: How to be Happy and Get What You Want in Life (Without Doing Anything Illegal, Immoral, or Unethical) and Unlock Your Creativity: 30 Days to a More Creative YOU! and self-described “Bahooda Kicker” who helps women stop settling for less than they really want in life. Her mission is to motivate women around the world to live their purpose, love their lives, and make them count.

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