Close your eyes. Imagine just for a moment; you have the opportunity to shift the course of history. Breathe. Now look into the eyes of your son or daughter, or grandchild. When you do, search their eyes for their dreams and hopes. Know that you – and you alone – hold the key to America’s tomorrow. What do you see? Set yourself aside, and think about what your aspirations are for your children, your children’s children. What is your sincerest desire for your own mother or father? Where do you see the people you hold most dear in your life? What does the destiny you choose today hold? What fate are you choosing for tomorrow?
How will you be remembered?
History can be a great teacher, but an unforgiving and painful critic. Yes, the winners always write the history books, but historical forensics always exposes the truth. Your grandchildren’s children will know you by name. They will know you were the one who shaped their present and their future. Though you may no longer be around in that distant tomorrow, everyone both here and abroad will know you. Either they will despise you and the legacy you have left them, or they will laud you for being the one who made the difference. The legacy you choose to create now is entirely up to you.
Do you know this legacy? In 1883, American poet Emma Lazarus wrote “The New Colossus” in an effort to raise funding to build the very foundation on which the Statue of Liberty is perched still today. Emma’s sonnet…her legacy for America’s tomorrow is still true today; and it is the very foundation for what America is revered and for which it has stood the test of time:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Emma understood Lady Liberty’s message to the masses; she rebuked the pompous and self-important. She welcomed all those less of thee who dared dream, who dared to be a visionary in a young and budding land.
E Pluribus Unum – Choose
Can you envision a future where bigotry and hatred becomes as American as apple pie? Will you be the one who stands idly by to watch America’s demise? Will you be the one that builds the road to ruin and an uncertain future that demoralizes the poor, the hungry, the weak and the sick? Does your American future include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, or will it become a distant memory in the annals of history? Does your tomorrow eradicate humane programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Disability? Would you stand in silence and condone an America that has no compassion for the hungry, the homeless and jobless? To honor the home of the free and the brave, America must belong to our children and our children’s children. It must promise a future of hope, a message of humanity, and a tomorrow that unites and does not separate us.
Do your bidding but know the world is watching. Know that history will judge you. Know there is still time for you to lead. Yes, leaders must adjust the sails when the winds grow strong and weary. Now is the time for all good men (and women). Make Emma proud. Be the legacy. Leave a past that shall be honored; and our future, the America for which the New Colossus was built.
An Open Letter to the Electoral College-Choose your Legacy
Oped by C. Bailey-Lloyd
(c) Copyright 2016