Some things never change. Attitudes toward immigrants is the perfect example of that adage. I recently finished reading an excellent book called "Garden of Martyrs" by Michael White. The story is set in Massachusetts in 1806 and though fictional, it is based on true events. Two young Irish men are charged with murdering a man. Societal attitudes toward the Irish at the time unduly influence the legal system, resulting in a conviction based completely on circumstantial evidence. The two men hang. One is a married man with a young child. In 1984, they were posthumously pardoned by the Governor of Massachusetts. The proclamation of their pardon declared:
"The trial and execution of Dominic Daley and James Halligan are reminders that we must constantly guard against the intrusion of fear and prejudice in all judicial and government decisions, and to resolve to not allow the rights of any racial, ethnic or religious groups to be denied or infringed as a result of such prejudices."
We should think carefully about that declaration every day. Too often we allow our prejudices to color our decisions and actions and people's lives suffer as a result, sometimes in ways that cannot be changed.