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Lady Liberty has her say about The Wall

by | Jan 29, 2017 | Detroit Free Press, Comment | 1 comment

I went to visit the Statue of Liberty. I missed the last boat back. As I gazed at the American shoreline, I heard a voice.

“So, what do you think?”

I turned. Lady Liberty was talking to me.

“I think I’m hallucinating,” I said.

“Don’t be shy. I don’t often get to speak. It’s hard to talk with people crawling up your robe.”

“Well…” I said. “What’s on your mind?”

“What do you think? About the symbol?”

“You? I think you’re amazing. Inspiring. Incred–”

“Not me. The new symbol. The Wall.”

“Oh.”

Lady Liberty sighed. “You know, for centuries, I’ve been the image of our nation’s borders. You thought of coming here? You thought of me.

“But now? Now when people around the world think of America, they’re going to picture a wall — a really long, ugly wall.”

She shook her crown. “It won’t even be green.”

“No, no,” I insisted. “We’re much more than that. We’re a huge nation. Rich. Diverse.”

“So is China,” she said. “But what’s the first structure you think of with that country?”

She had me there.

Standing tall for all

“What’s the purpose of this wall?” she asked.

“To keep people out.”

“Hmm.” She pointed her torch down to her base.

“See those?”

“Your really big feet?”

“No. The broken chains I’m stepping out of. They stand for freedom from oppression. Aren’t people coming here seeking freedom from oppression?”

“Some,” I said. “Some just want jobs.”

“So they’re poor?”

“Many of them, yes.”

“See that?” She pointed down with her tablet.

“Your toenails?”

“Lower. On the base. The sonnet. Read it.”

“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!”

“Pretty good, huh?” she said.

“Pretty good,” I replied.

“I’ll bet the Wall doesn’t have a golden door.”

She had me there.

Enlightening the World

“It’s complicated,” I tried to explain. “Back when you were built, people came to follow their dreams.”

“Aren’t today’s immigrants doing that?”

“But they’re not going through proper channels.”

“How long do proper channels take?”

“Depends on the country. In some cases, 20 years.”

“Hmm.” She looked off to Ellis Island. “Did your family come through there?”

“Yes. Early last century.”

“Did they have to wait 20 years?”

“No.”

“Maybe the laws need more fixing than the borders.”

She stared at me. I think she raised an eyebrow.

“Some illegal immigrants commit crimes,” I said.

“More than citizens commit crimes?”

“Actually,” I mumbled, “most data shows it’s less.”

“Hmm,” she said. She had a way of saying that.

“And when these ‘illegals’ come, do they work?”

“Yes. They work so cheap. They take our jobs.”

“Who’s hiring them?”

“Factories. Small business. Households.”

“Are you punishing the employers? Are you building a wall around the factories?”

“Don’t be silly,” I said.

“Hmm,” she said.

She adjusted her crown, with its seven spikes to symbolize seven seas and continents. “Do you know my original name? It was ‘Liberty Enlightening the World.’ ”

She looked south. “Will they say that about a wall?”

“The big fight now is who’s gonna pay for it.”

“I was paid for by foreigners.”

“Hey. That’s exactly what our president wants!”

“I was a gift.”

“Oh, yeah.”

The sun began to rise. “Well, bon voyage,” Lady Liberty said, lifting her arm. “I must get back to work.”

“Work?” I said. “But you’re a statue.”

“No,” she said, sternly, “I’m a symbol. I stand for something. And you know what? Standing for something, every day and night, is really hard work.”

“Hmm,” I said. And I thought I saw her smile.

1 Comment

  1. Theresa Ramus

    So cute and with a touch of humor. One thing is for sure is that the new administration and President will make for endless conversation on the topics at hand. I just hope that we don’t get into World War III. Some good will come out of everything and some not so good.

    Reply

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