The Statue of Liberty stands for freedom, as its name entails, democracy and opportunity. Its torch paves the way for those lost at sea, burdened with the struggles of a life of undeserved circumstances.
This is what is engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level of the Statue of Liberty:
“…Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHEROF 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 Lazaraus, the poet known for “The New Colossus” sonnet written in 1883, wrote this for our very own, grandiose Statue of Liberty that resides magnificent at the eastern side coast of the USA, overlooking the port that once was one of the most popular doors to this land of opportunities that many dared only dream of.
Emma was herself descendent of emigrants (for not many of us aren’t). Her descendants were among the first Jewish emigrants to the United States.
She wrote this sonnet so beautifully and it still resonates with us today. It embodies what the “land of opportunities” should stand for. It asks for the tired and the poor. It opens it’s proverbial doors to all that are in search of refuge. It calls out the homeless, “tempest-tost”.
I love the delightful words and the significant message we stand for as a land, yet we seem to fail to live by them and constantly struggle with being more accepting and kind to our neighbors from around the world as well as those just next door.
“MOTHER OF EXILES”, is what the US represents, yet throughout history she has shown little of the motherly qualities we all yearn for, appreciate and love. Just recently, our “Mother of Exiles” has made it difficult to grant refuge to homeless, “tempest-tost”, brothers and sisters from across the world who were violently uprooted from their homes and lands by ravaging, devastating wars. And she continues to do so.
Moreover, our “Mother of Exiles” herself is exiling her natural born children, that have been living and breathing in her loins, and helping her flourish throughout their entire lives. She is banishing them and ridding of them as if they were some infectious disease.
Our “Mother of Exiles” is building impenetrable borders and locking up her golden door from the tired and the poor.
What mother is this? One that claims to base its values in Jesus Christ’s benevolent, kindred, and forgiving ways. A mother that claims to have morals and values of the highest kind yet, she is treating the homeless, needy, poor, tired and the refuges with utmost strictness, wickedness, and disgrace. What hypocrisy!
I say we take a good look at our Mother. We take a good look at ourselves.
“I say we change things for the better
For only us, her children can,
Turn things around,
And to this nonsense put an end!”
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