On an island, off the coast of a mythic land, stands the New Colossus, “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land-to-land; here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightening, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” (Emma Lazarus, November 2nd, 1883 – inscribed on a bronze plaque located in the Statue of Liberty’s museum – 1903).
You want to ‘make America great again? Then don’t fall into the soviet trap of building a wall (which a former GOP president mentioned in a famous speech). Live the ideal of a country newly rebuilding from a “civil” war taking the first steps to allow the “thems” to vote. Struggling mightily with inclusion that comes at a snail’s pace. While the hard-liners sought to maintain the exclusive boundaries, other Americans fought to add more voices and votes.
If you are a person of Christian faith – I ask you simply to love your neighbor, and do for the least as you would do for Christ.
If you are not, I ask you to please consider this. If we are “preserving” our country by keeping others from corrupting us, then what are we preserving. If we are ‘great’ then how do we demonstrate it? By caring for our aging? By helping those ravaged by storms? By lifting up those damaged by economic hardships? By treating illnesses? By feeding and housing hungry children? By treating our veterans with kindness and compassion? By educating our children? What are we preserving? Is it worth keeping? Have we solved the problems of hunger, health, race, gender inequality, scorn for others – have we accomplished “United we Stand” or are we dividing for a fall?
If we are to stand for some “thing.” Should we stand for a wall to keep others out – or should we stand for a noble idea that seems to be forgotten?
Light your lamp, not in anger, but rather lift it beside the golden door. Welcoming the homeless, the tempest-tost is not just a Christian thought, it is not “communist” it is not “socialist” it is liberty – for those “yearning to be free.” Yes, we have failed in our history, we have stolen land, stolen people, stolen ideas and corrupted our noble experiment – but we have also struggled to improve, sometimes in spite of ourselves. Which trend do we want to continue? The one that struggles to improve, or the one that seeks to preserve, at any cost, a systemic separation contrary to what our Lady Liberty stands for?
Do not misunderstand me – This is not a call to vote, it isn’t even political to me. It is ideological. Your heart, your mind, your daily life. If you are a patriot, do you stand with Lady Liberty, or wrap yourself in the flag and carry a different type of torch. To me the flag is not a cape that makes us a super-hero, it is a blanket offered to comfort. I am one voice, but I could maintain my silent lips no more.