Would We Accept the Statue of Liberty Today?
On October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York City by President Grover Cleveland with these words on the pedestal, "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!" There is no possibility that we would ever accept such a brazen symbol of Democracy 120 years after the dedication of the original Ms. Liberty. We would dismantle that Lady and send her back to France on ship carrying a banner "Mission Accomplished."
Here are some of the reasons that our current leaders could never accept a 2006 Statue of Liberty. First, we would be leery of any gift from France. Second, we do not want any more of those "illegals" and so we don't want 151 foot tall billboard advertising immigration. We are now afraid of "your huddled masses," so keep them on your own shores. Third, you can't even walk up the 120 year old Statue anymore. It is a symbol of America and therefore a potential security threat. Close off the symbols and thus you make us all safer--and don't make any new symbols for America and we are all safer. Fourth, we certainly don't want any more homeless people. We are all in our fourth or fifth year in our 10 year plan to "end" homelessness and so we don't need any more from other countries. Finally, the whole statue is too feminine and liberal elite for those in power. Lady Liberty expresses idealistic virtues that are way too advanced for a society looking for easier to understand statues like the simple cowboy in Ft. Worth or the Giant Bull on Wall Street.
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.