Take a lesson from a great civilization
At the annual ceremony in the White House in honor of the national anniversary of Greek Independence Day on March 25, President Obama remarked: "We acknowledge the common bonds that we share with Greece, and we honor the great influence of the Greeks in the life of the United States. ... The values that we share become stronger with the time, and that is why we stand by the Greek allies and friends on their struggles through some of their most difficult times of their long history."
Modern Greece has experienced 400 years of Ottoman rule, a cruel Nazi occupation and a decimating Civil War — more than 12 percent of its population perished — yet it survived and became at one time the 30th-richest modern country, with a renaissance in Arts and Letters that won two Nobel awards in literature.
This renaissance was followed by an economic collapse.
Could this happen here? Absolutely. As an American citizen of Greek descent, I'm concerned about polarization — political, social and economic — and its effects on our society. Perhaps it behooves us to be mindful of Alexander the Great's statement: "I do not judge people by their nationality nor by their race, but only by their virtue. To me every good foreigner is as good as a Greek and every bad Greek is worse than a barbarian."