Restoring the “tired, poor and huddled masses”


The recent election confirmed that America is a country divided to its core. The pressure facing the new administration is to bring all sides together without caving in to any.

But in trying to unite the country, the new government needs to have the courage to tackle the issues that plague our nation, whatever the opposition to those measures.

The people have spoken and have delivered the Senate for the new administration, thanks in no small part to the work from grassroots activists including the Noble Peace Prize nominated Stacey Abrams.

To delay policies that could improve the lives of many Americans would be to ignore the efforts that these activists have made and would be a blatant disregard for those who voted this administration into office.

This is not to say that I am not for unity. I would love to see a true “United States of America”, but I gave up on that idea a long time ago. Unity requires common ground and how do you seek common ground with people whose ideologies are based on hate and bigotry? How do you reach out to those who would rather put out hits on their colleagues than admit defeat in a democratic process?

I hope this administration will do what is needed to deliver the America they have promised on the campaign trail with or without the support of those on the other side of the aisle.

As a student of international relations I have seen America’s diplomatic strength decrease over the years. It was extremely prevalent in the last administration’s isolationist foreign policies which yelled “America first”.

This administration has already taken some big steps and re-joined the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization (WHO), but it must now turn its attention to repairing the broken relationship with allies across the globe.

This means holding some accountable for their crimes and not being complicit by providing the ammunition and logistical support that the previous administration was so keen to offer. Children and civilians should not die from American bombs. I expect this administration to follow through on that and hope that the carnage that has been perpetuated with American support will end.

We must aim to again be a melting pot and the “land of immigrants” that refugees like myself were promised that this country would be.

The American poet Emma Lazarus wrote “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, words that lost their meaning during the Trump administration. Such sentiments must be restored, with humane immigration plans creating a pathway for citizenship to those who come to seek refuge in this country.

With coronavirus ravaging throughout the world, a return to normality is needed. However, it must not be forgotten that normalcy and the same old ideas got us to the horror show of the last four years.

We simply cannot go back to the way things were because it would mean returning to the rampant gun violence, police brutality, and failing infrastructures that need revamping. These problems preceded the last administration and will outlast this one if no action is taken.

This means reducing the wealth gap, ensuring that working families are able to work and not be one trip to the ER away from bankruptcy, and most importantly getting rid of student loans. 

Most economists would agree that student loan forgiveness would be one way to tackle the inequality we see in this country. Farmers and the rural population must not be forgotten either and should be provided with the basic broadband access that they need to attend schools and conduct businesses.

Though it is easy to say kaglai bel pakyo harshana bismat… I feel that this administration will be significant for our community. We have seen great resolve in our activists and community organizers who have worked tirelessly to create awareness amongst voters. This work needs to continue during the term of the new administration as we exercise our rights to participate in the democratic process.

I hope that more students from our community will have access to college education and benefit from the proposed plans to make two-year colleges free.

The success of the new administration will be measured by how the quality of life increases for everyday Americans. It would be naïve to think that they will achieve all of these expectations, but one can hope. In its progress, I will gladly support this administration. In its failure, I will be its critic. There is a lot left to be done. Let’s hope they deliver.

The author is a student at Stanford University studying International Relations and Computer Science. BNS welcomes diversity of opinions.