“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Very few Americans or migrants in this country today can trace their family tree to roots that were here in the very beginning. We can almost all be traced back to people who landed on these shores following a long ocean voyage in some context or another.
But as Martin Luther King said, “We’re in the same boat now.”
That boat is an America as divisive as ever, but if we all look back to our roots, finding the similarities, and recognize we are all after the same goals, we can ease much of that tension and mistrust.
Everyone in the United States wants the same opportunities for liberty, freedom and a chance at a better life. Isn’t that what brought most people here in the first place?
Whether our ancestors came here as conquerors, explorers seeking fame and fortune, or refugees desperate for a new life, there was a place for all. Even those people the new Americans tried to push out, or those brought against their will as possessions, have all been fighting ever since to take advantage of the promise of such freedoms.
We have done unspeakable wrongs to one another over the course of more than 250 years, since the day this country began to take shape. But today, we are all still focused on the same prize.
But that prize of freedom and opportunity remains right in front of us if we will work to reach them, and our nation as a whole, will protect those opportunities equally for everyone. It is not a prize some can have and others can’t. It is not a prize only some can earn at the expense of others. It doesn’t run out or fade away.
But we have the most chance at finding this opportunity that seems more elusive than ever, if we seek it out together and work to help others succeed as well. The fear or belief that such things can’t be shared by all has – in many cases – turned us against one another and made us suspicious in very harmful ways.
The United States is at its best when it is “all of us,” not “them or us.”