The Death of Lady Liberty 🗽

Yesterday marked the 137th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.  Four years ago, I wrote this post.  At that time, we were in the throes of the former administration and immigrants were ‘personae non grata’ by the government.  I posited that we no longer deserved Lady Liberty, for we had failed to keep our promises.  Today, we have a different president, one who values ALL people, yet we still have a humanitarian crisis at our southern border.  There remains a large contingent of people in this country who would denigrate, expel, and even kill any who don’t look and think just like them.  As a nation, are we any better today, any more deserving of this statue that stands in New York Harbour than we were four years ago? 


One hundred and thirty-three years ago today, the Statue of Liberty came to our shores.  Lady Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of America, arrived in some 200 cartons, in 350 pieces – rather like a puzzle to be put together.  She was reassembled and dedicated the next year and would become known around the world as an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy.

Perhaps we no longer deserve having her grace our harbour.  But first, a bit of history, courtesy of History.com

Intended to commemorate the American Revolution and a century of friendship between the U.S. and France, the statue was designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi (who modeled it after his own mother), with assistance from engineer Gustave Eiffel, who later developed the iconic tower in Paris bearing his name. The statue was initially scheduled to be finished by 1876, the 100th anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence; however, fundraising efforts, which included auctions, a lottery and boxing matches, took longer than anticipated, both in Europe and the U.S., where the statue’s pedestal was to be financed and constructed. The statue alone cost the French an estimated $250,000 (more than $5.5 million in today’s money).

Finally completed in Paris in the summer of 1884, the statue, a robed female figure with an uplifted arm holding a torch, reached its new home on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor (between New York City and Hudson County, New Jersey) on June 17, 1885. After being reassembled, the 450,000-pound statue was officially dedicated on October 28, 1886, by President Cleveland, who said, “We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected.” Standing more than 305 feet from the foundation of its pedestal to the top of its torch, the statue, dubbed “Liberty Enlightening the World” by Bartholdi, was taller than any structure in New York City at the time. The statue was originally copper-colored, but over the years it underwent a natural color-change process called patination that produced its current greenish-blue hue.

In 1892, Ellis Island, located near Bedloe’s Island (which in 1956 was renamed Liberty Island), opened as America’s chief immigration station, and for the next 62 years Lady Liberty, as the statue is nicknamed, stood watch over the more than 12 million immigrants who sailed into New York Harbor. In 1903, a plaque inscribed with a sonnet titled “The New Colossus” by American poet Emma Lazarus, written 20 years earlier for a pedestal fundraiser, was placed on an interior wall of the pedestal. Lazarus’ now-famous words, which include “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” became symbolic of America’s vision of itself as a land of opportunity for immigrants.

Some 60 years after President Calvin Coolidge designated the statue a national monument in 1924, it underwent a multi-million-dollar restoration (which included a new torch and gold leaf-covered flame) and was rededicated by President Ronald Reagan on July 4, 1986, in a lavish celebration. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the statue was closed; its base, pedestal and observation deck re-opened in 2004, while its crown re-opened to the public on July 4, 2009. (For safety reasons, the torch has been closed to visitors since 1916, after an incident called the Black Tom explosions in which munitions-laden barges and railroad cars on the Jersey City, New Jersey, waterfront were blown up by German agents, causing damage to the nearby statue.)

Today, the Statue of Liberty is one of America’s most famous landmarks. Over the years, it has been the site of political rallies and protests (from suffragettes to anti-war activists), has been featured in numerous movies and countless photographs, and has received millions of visitors from around the globe.

The Statue of Liberty once stood for something, but today when I read those words … “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, I shake my head, for they are a great hypocrisy.  We no longer welcome immigrants, but rather abuse them, call them names, and take their children from them.  We are planning to spend tens of billions of dollars – enough money to feed those tired and poor for many days, weeks, perhaps even months or a year – to build a huge wall, the sole purpose of which will be to keep immigrants out.

Here is how we greet immigrants today …With the exception of the Indigenous People in this nation, we are all descended from immigrants, but as time and generations have passed, we have become an arrogant lot, believing that somehow we are entitled to more, to better than others.  We no longer welcome the “tired and poor”, but instead would choose, in the words of Donald Trump, “only the best and brightest”.  Huddled masses?  Oh no, throw them in jails and detention centers, humiliate them, berate them, beat them and even kill them.No, my fellow Americans, we no longer deserve the Statue of Liberty for we are no longer the ‘land of the free’, but rather the land of the wealthy.  Only the wealthy are welcome here.  If you or I were attempting to flee to the shores of the U.S. today, would we be welcomed and embraced? I think not, but then … I would not choose to come to this country today, either.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers who have dedicated their lives to being awesome dads!

23 thoughts on “The Death of Lady Liberty 🗽

  1. Pingback: THE DEATH OF LADY LIBERTY. |jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  2. We just like to think that we’ve advanced from the former sexist, ageist, racist beliefs from generations before, but look at the world, and we aren’t that much different than how man once mistreated each other, and we are still stereotyping those who are different than we are. So, no, we had not advanced far enough at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Unfortunately, Jill, in both our countries, so many regular citizens believe this land belongs to them. Previous inhabitants do not count. Future inhabitants do not count either. Our world belongs to them. They have no idea they are being racist, or nationalistic, or or anything. To them it is their right to live here. Someday they will learn.

    Liked by 3 people

    • As I just commented on another blog I follow about the white Euro-Anglo Imperial nations in history and today exploiting, abusing, and oh yeah… enslaving(?) non-caucasian races to do their hard labor, empire building, and cannon-fodder for their armies… I’ll share here the music video I shared with my blogging friend in South Africa (hah! ironic there too) about North American Euro-Whites doing the exact same thing to the Native Peoples already here for many, many more millenia. Listen carefully to the (brutal, appalling) lyrics or mindset of 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th-century white Euro-Anglo imperialists… then AND today!!! 🥺 Listen acutely to all the words…

      Like

  4. Jill,

    It is ironic that you repost your 2018 blog-post here after a lengthy discussion I had yesterday with our next door neighbor. She is a 74-yr old caucasian woman, native of Texas (Dallas as well!), and a devout Catholic Christian. She is not radical about her personal, private faith-beliefs and CERTAINLY not in-your-face about them for evangelical or proselytizing purposes so as to convert all strangers and friendly acquaintances. I say all this about her so that you can infer and deduce what political persuasion she most certainly holds to. 😉

    Despite the last part, she’s a very sweet, polite, kind elderly woman. We’ve gotten to know each other pretty well because of her warm demeanor and good cognitive powers—with the exception of her ill-founded “Faith.™” 🤭

    Anyway, she and I somehow got onto the subject of American (Texan) work-ethics today versus what they had been in her childhood and teens as well as with my Mom’s and Father’s generation which in most ways carried over into me. She then shared with me explicitly, in much detail, what her present uncle does on his 700-800 acre ranch-farm further south of Kerrville, TX, nearer to the San Antonio area. She informed me in no uncertain terms how her wealthy uncle manages the massive workload of his ranch cattle and farming-crops—he goes to well-known border groups for “Green Card holding” Hispanics from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, etc, (doesn’t matter the nationality) for some 100 to 200+ foreign workers depending on the work required and the season.

    I stopped her briefly and with pristine candor told her “And Americans and GOP fanatics wonder WHY we have a border problem?” 🤦‍♂️ Ugh, I let her continue.

    When she was finished telling me about what remarkable cooks/chefs the “Green Card holding” foreign workers were by roasting underground in a fire-pit a whole hog and she raved and raved about it, to lighten what I was about to explain to her, I asked humorously… “Did they also fire-pit underground their exceptional Agave Tequila!? 😄

    Then I explained to her unabashedly that her Uncle would go get those Mexican-foreign workers and EXPLOIT them for their ignorance about low, unfair wages, working conditions, work hours, and no worker’s comp benefits, much less any health benefits! I said, it isn’t much different than foreign Sweat Shops in Asia or the Middle East! And the reason your uncle and so many white Texans, white southern states, and now white Midwest states go get truck-loads of cheap labor who are NOT American workforce with much higher standards of wages and labor… is that THEIR profit margins are engorged by our cheap “border problems!” Duh! So they go tell all their family members and friends in Central American countries to come quick to the USA cuz their pay is 5-10 times better than in their home countries (exchange rate)! Then once they’ve lived here for 5-10 yrs thinking they’ve FINALLY got “The Great American Dream,” they learn the hard way they’ve been abused, exploited, and grossly under paid!

    “And Americans and GOP fanatics wonder WHY we have a border problem?”

    Because white American businessmen keep hiring them—illegally or legally thru Green Cards(?) for super cheap labor. Pfffft!

    My February 2019 blog-series Black Underworld Inc. – Part 2 covers exactly this white-man hiring practices in more depth. Link provided if wanted. Also, The Texas Tribune also did an excellent extensive investigation into these practices by American businesses fueling our “border problems” too… the link of which I will share below:

    https://www.texastribune.org/series/bordering-on-insecurity/

    Liked by 2 people

    • We Canadians are doing the same thing, using a great number of Filipino workers, and those from other Asian nations, as well as Central and South America. It breaks my heart the way we make them think we are doing them a favour while taking advantage of them. And our federal government is completely complicit in this. Now Immigration Services is trying to deport a woman and her 6 year-old Canadian-born daughter for being here illegally after running away from her “abusive employer” many years ago and not going back home then. She has made a life for herself here. She deserves to stay here, if for no other reason than she managed to survive her abuser. Of course, the government does not see it that way.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Ugh, rawgod… I totally empathize with you and especially that woman and 6 y/o Canadian-born daughter. That breaks my heart.

        I imagine it is equally, or much greater here in Texas, and as sad, disturbingly abusive by the Euro-N. American labor business practices, and finally flat-out WRONG to see that sort of long established treatment happening. White men make other inferior races (in their minds) do all their hard labor for them. Then pay them 💩 There’s no other way to put it if you’re honest and logical.

        And today, that’s the business, or hiring practices of the modern GOP supporter that NEVER gets exposed in our mainstream news media, much less social-media to the masses of white Republicans. 😔🤨

        Of course, the government does not see it that way.

        Yeah, I presume rawgod that you refer to your overly Conservative government officials and political party don’t describe the problem that way?

        Liked by 2 people

        • Actually in this case I am talking about our so-called Liberal government, who are presently in power (albeit through a coalition with our social democratic party). I do not know which party originally wrote the rules, which say one thing but allow employers to ignore the law. Very little has ever been changed. No one cares about the “Temporary Foreign Workers,” as they so pleasantly call them. Foreign slaves is what they are.

          Liked by 3 people

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