Lady Liberty's checkered history
0 comment Sunday, July 20, 2014 |
On October 27, 1886, 120 years ago, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
As President Cleveland accepted the statue on behalf of American citizens, he declared "we will not forget that liberty here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected." The statue quickly became a symbol of America's humanitarianism and willingness to take in the world's "tired, poor and huddled masses"-- in the words of the poem by Emma Lazarus inscribed on the monument's pedestal -- who yearned for freedom and a better life.''
Forgive my cynicism, but the Statue and especially the maudlin poem by Emma Lazarus, which was tacked onto the pedestal only in 1903, is the source of much of the current multiculti open-borders rhetoric. If only I had a dollar for every time some open-borders zealot quoted Lazarus's poem as an argument for a 'let-em-all-in' policy.
Given the propaganda value of the statue and its overwrought poem, I wonder if this country might not have taken its unfortunate course towards Babel if the French had kept their unwanted statue, rather than giving it to us.
Think about it: the French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi created the statue, intending it to function as a lighthouse at Suez, to be given to the Egyptian viceroy. But the viceroy was not interested. Bartholdi had to get rid of his white elephant somewhere, so, instead of an Egyptian goddess (said to be Isis), it morphed into 'Liberty Enlightening the World.'
Now I can accept the idea of a statue of Liberty giving light to the world, but how did the statue and her torch become a big advertisement saying 'Y'all come' to the whole world?
How did Liberty's torch become a flashlight showing the 'tired and the poor' the way to all the goodies?
Emma Lazarus's poem, 'The New Colossus' seems to have been a big part of the new myth of Lady Liberty, the emblem of the new polyglot, diverse America, an America which exists not as the home of Americans, but as a hostel or social service agency for whatever 'huddled masses' arrive on our shores.
If this sounds cynical, so be it. I once used to have great respect for all our national icons, but it seems the meaning of those symbols has been perverted and sold out to an agenda not of the American people's choosing.
And in point of fact, the statue was not even made by Americans, but was created in Europe for Egyptians, who rejected it. So lucky us, we got it.
Maybe in that sense it is an apt symbol for multiculturalism, with its crazyquilt motif.
But if I were to choose a national symbol, other than our flag, I would choose something like the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall, rather than Lady Liberty, who has of late become a 'lady' of easy virtue, you know: the kind who never says no to anybody.

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