Today I want to share the poetry of my friend, Maren Tirabassi, who writes of her deeply held convictions of what is just and good and right. Most of us have a vision of what it would look like if we managed to “make America great again.” The vision must look like justice, nonviolence, racial and ethnic diversity, and above all, open hands and open hearts that welcome the stranger.
You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Take a few minutes to contemplate the meaning of the poem that follows, “The Eve of the Fourth of July.”
The Eve of the Fourth of July
I’ve loved the parades of other years
with bicycles decorated,
and children banging coffee-can drums,
with cars decorated with streamers
carrying the oldest citizens,
with the well-rehearsed middle school band
the cub scouts and blue birds
daisy girls and a flatbed trailer
with some church choir holding on tight,
and not a tank in sight.
I have loved parades of other years,
but the only parade I ask this year
is the parade of justice,
the only fireworks I hope to view
is legislation for gun control.
Let us recite not —
“The Declaration of Independence,”
but Frederick Douglass —
“What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
Let us sing “God bless America”
remembering the immigrant
who wrote the words,
and “American the Beautiful”
celebrating the queer woman
whose vision of abundance and history
from the top of Pike’s Peak.
Let us wave no flag
but a banner saying, “welcome all!”
And reading Emma Lazarus’ poem,
not call those who come “poor and huddled …”
but “rich with gifts”
the ones which,
if we have the wisdom to receive them,
will make America great again.
— Maren Tirabassi, 2019
Read more of Maren’s blog at https://wp.me/p1ThDo-2Jw.