During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has said a great deal about making America great again. I had a conversation with one of our clinic interpreters who showed me why America is great now.
Ambar was born in Mexico. When she was a young child, her father came on a visa to work in Los Angeles. Because he was worried about issues of gang violence in LA, he moved his family to Memphis, where Ambar and her sister grew up. Four years ago Ambar married a young man from Mississippi.
From here on, this story gets complicated. You may need to pull out your atlas.
Ambar’s husband grew up in Mississippi, but his parents did not. His father is from Morocco and his grandmother is from Spain. Ambar’s husband’s mother is from Korea. His mother’s sister married an African-American US soldier who moved the whole family from Korea to Mississippi.
Ambar’s Mexican-born sister recently married an Indian man who grew up in England. At their wedding, there was a traditional Indian service, the bride was painted in henna, and there was also a Mariachi band.
So to recap: Mexican, Moroccan, Korean, Spanish, Indian, and British heritages all mingled together to make up your average family living in north Mississippi and Memphis.
No matter how you look at it, surely that is what makes America great.
Religiously, we have mixed Catholic, Muslim, Hindi, Sikh, Protestant Christian, and Buddhist.
I am guessing that makes God smile. I am not so naive as to think this family does not have cultural challenges. Questions about how to raise their children are certain to abound. But the richness of their lives from the amazing diversity is certain to bring a fullness to life that is not easy to come by.
America truly is a country of immigrants. I know that my life is made richer by my experience of other points of view both culturally and when it comes to how God is made known.
America does not need to be made great again. It already is.