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A Strong but Merciful Nation

February 4, 2017

Statue of Liberty (public domain).jpg

The following is a letter I sent to Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) on January 28, 2017.

Dear Senator Heller,

One of the cornerstones of the American story, the story that has made the United States a beacon to freedom-loving people for 240 years, is the notion that these shores welcome those whose liberty, health and lives are endangered in their homelands. Emma Lazarus said it best:

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!

While our nation has not always lived up to its promise—a promise deeply ingrained in the Judeo-Christian tradition—to welcome the stranger, we have in most cases remained true to our ideals and remained the world’s leading bastion of freedom for the “tempest-tost.” Through war and famine, pogrom and genocide, fascism and communism, the United States has given people from around the world a chance to start over, contributing their talents to the Great American Project. Refugees face the most challenging vetting procedures of any class of immigrants—we understandably want to make sure that we are being wise while being kind—but the diligence of our procedures has never dimmed our goal of providing shelter and safety to the oppressed.

The reasonable kindness of our nation is an essential element of our national security; a strong but merciful nation has grateful and reliable neighbors. It also has indispensable allies in the very nations whose behavior we hope to see transformed: During the Cold War the American Story was an inspiration to dissidents in the Communist world; more recently, the example of a tolerant, strong and unafraid United States has been an inspiration to freedom-seeking families across Central Asia and the Middle East. If we surrender to demagoguery, if we become a nation unworthy of our own ideals; if we allow the words of Emma Lazarus, inscribed upon the Statue of Liberty, to be degraded into so much disposable advertising copy, we surrender our moral leadership in the world, and we make it a more dangerous place for all Americans—and a more hopeless place for all mankind.

I thank you for your service to the nation and to the State of Nevada, and wish you success as we work to help our country live up to both its potential and its ideals.

Greg Blake Miller

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