Even though this year’s is not a major election, any election gives us the opportunity to stop and think about some of the major issues being discussed. As we prepare for next year’s election – which will, no doubt be major – there are some topics that have been and continue to be subjects of great interest (and even controversial).
For example, the subject of immigration and refugees seems to appear everywhere. I’ve read more than once that opposition to immigrants has long been the norm in the United States. While I’m aware that such sentiments have existed, I’m reluctant to believe that other sentiments weren’t equally (or more) prominent.
The other day, I was poking through the online archives of The New Yorker (a benefit for subscribers) and I happened upon the following in the August 27, 1932 issue (though it refers to an earlier time). It certainly shows that, as is the case now, the “anti” position wasn’t the only point of view:
This week we turn this department over to Mr. Louis Gaylord Clark, who did the Talk of the Town Department long before we were born. The titles, the quotation marks, the italics, and every word are his. Mr. Clark – ‘old Knick’ – was editor of the Knickerbocker Magazine between 1834 and 1859. The Knickerbocker Magazine was founded in 1833 and published at 139 Nassau Street. We are sorry it is gone. –THE NEW YORKERS
This ‘wooden country’ of ours is really beginning to be thought something of ‘on the other side!’ As the English cockney said of Niagara Falls, ‘It is very clever: very!’ AMERICA! – Let us think how many at this moment are ‘on the seas’ approaching our shores! Every hour on the coasts of the old world representatives from the different nations of the earth are departing for this republic; every hour some vessel crowded with exiles from tempestuous kingdoms and principalities is nearing our shores, or, while the ‘shouting seaman climbs and furls the sail’ in our harbor, is landing its human freight upon our piers. Come along, future ‘fellow-citizens!’ We have thousands of square miles where the epidermis of the earth has never been scratched. There is room enough and there is work enough for all: nor on this side of the ‘big brook’ shall any of you ‘come nigh to perish with hunger.’ What a proud thing it will be deemed, by-and-by, to be able to say, ‘I am an American citizen!’