The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
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 lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows worldwide 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!”
Where do I begin? We are living in some interesting times. It’s honestly very challenging not to view this through a lens that is clearly obvious to every person outside of the U.S. But instead, I’ll write to provide some sense of justice to those who seek refuge in the US.
Part of the story of “The New Colossus” was that the French had paid for the statue but that New York/US needed to pay for the base. Ms. Lazarus, a poet and daughter of Jewish immigrants, was recruited (along with other prominent writers) to write and raise funds for this purpose. She died prior to the inscription into the Statue of Liberty in 1903. Below is some context to all this hyperbole. I’m beginning to think that a large part of our population wants to live, or believe, in an alternate reality.
- Native American’s really were here first.
- 900s The Vikings establish trade with Native Americans
- 1500’s the Spanish immigrate and settle in Florida
- 1600’s French immigrate to US and settle around the Mississippi
- 1607 first immigrants from England land and establish a colony in Jamestown, Virginia
- 1620 pilgrims arrive at Plymouth Rock, in Massachusetts, to attain religious freedom
- 1626 Dutch (part of the East India Company) arrive in “Manhattan” to establish trade/business – the Dutch then buy the land from Native Americans for an amount that is not exactly clear (nor were the contracts that were developed)
- 1600’s people from Africa are brought over as slaves to do forced labor in farms
- 1700’s British Quakers and Scottish people immigrate to US
- 1800s millions of immigrants from Europe arrive into the US (Jews, Italians, Polish, Greeks,etc.)
- US government passes legislation to limit the number of “low skilled” immigrant
- Immigration Act of 1917 – requiring literacy
- Emergency Quota Act in 1921 – which restricted immigrants from Russia and Europe (including Jews)
- Immigration Act of 1924
And then many, many more people from all over the world including Asia arrive. It’s easy to keep on going….but not truly necessary.
Does that mean we are all “infesting” “our” country?
Or is the US a nation of Immigrants?
I think the answer is pretty clear. Are we going through an identity crisis as a nation? Is that what is going on? Perhaps we should return the statue of liberty? Perhaps the inscription should read:
Send me your invigorated, your wealthy, comfortable few, indifferent to suffocating in shackles.
What is our nation becoming?
Thank you for your time. Until next time. Same bat time. Same bat channel.