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 Lazarus
I remember the first time I read the words that adorn our Statue of Liberty. The first words spoke to me about the place I call home. My country is a refuge, a sanctuary. It is what I love most, from the many words I have heard to describe my country of birth, “give me your tired, your poor” says all I need to know.
I can almost see my father’s ancestors departing from England to a new land. They had no idea what to expect, they just knew it was synonymous with free. They landed in a country of immigrants. A country where your prayer was different from my prayer, but the vibe, the promise, that this land and its people, will always be a warrior defending the words you or I might speak as we fall to our knees, or look upward for solace on the journey that everyone must make, towards home.
In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued — they may be essential to survival. — Noam Chomsky
Ironically, the folks journeying to the edge of America were mostly poor. They came in search of hope, in a quest for a new life. A chance at prosperity. A chance to plant themselves in soil they could call their own, an opportunity to work hard, and in turn, build a life. It started as just a plan, a plan that soon became the envy of the world. It was in these words, that Americans visiting our golden lady, standing on an idea in the New York harbor, often weep. It is the idea that liberty is our anchor, and the why of the desperate men and women who built our great land. Not the privileged ones, but the common men and the common women from foreign lands, uniting as one heart, on the shores that welcome freedom to its golden door.
History does not repeat, but it does instruct. — Timothy Snyder
For some reason, we are trying to be someone else in these current times. A place, a people, I do not recognize. Yes, we are the tired and the poor, but the refuge, the sanctuary has been shrouded with angry faces, and steeped with hate and bellowing despair to a closed ear and a blind eye. We, at the hands of privilege and wealth, have closed our open door, shut down hope, and remade prosperity into a carrot stick of sorts, that eludes even the most diligent hands at work. A nation once built on love and trust, now despises the poor, finds the middle class wretched and undeserving, as it instead fawns over the rich and drools for profit, at every turn and at every cost. A nation standing soulless among allies while changing its attire. Once in overalls and suits and ties, emblazoned proudly with the word democracy, to now, a black jumpsuit covered with corporate names and whispering the word…authoritarian.The hoodwink of history, as our lady in the harbor, and our God behind the stars, weep.
Secrecy is the freedom tyrants dream of. — Bill Moyers
A nation united by folklore and dumbed down with A, B, C, or D, clueless to their demise. The normalization of uncertainty, and the promise of living on the brink, immersed in the heartbreaking future without soil, and without arrival, in a land that once prided itself in dreams and possibility. Where life has become equivalent to that of a hamster wheel spinning continuously, to nowhere. The “huddled masses are yearning to breathe free”, but instead, are choking on debt, enslaved by mediocrity, and doomed to relentless data mining and a surveilled existence of Big Brother eyes and Big Brother ears.
Modern tyranny is terror management. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that authoritarians exploit such events in order to consolidate power. The sudden disaster that requires the end of checks and balances, the dissolution of opposition parties, the suspension of freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Do not fall for it. — Timothy Snyder
Liberty, an old fashioned notion of honoring the human spirit. The ideal that allows for personal thought, pen and paper, canvas and brush, instrument and rhythm, and the freedom to take the well worn road, or to create a new one. To walk alone or to protest in a crowd. To join hands or to heatedly debate. To go here or to stay there. To fall on your knees or to lift yourself up. To create or to destroy. To feel proud, to belong, to eagerly sense the participation in an idea that transcends all other notions, the rights that every person should enjoy and grow into. To be free of fear, of undue tethering of mind and spirit, and the freedom from despair of a wasted existence of toil without just reward, it is the American arrival, the American Dream, a worthiness of humanity ingrained in the tapestry of our constitution. Our constitution is one of mankind’s greatest works. It creates a roadmap, a treasured assurance for our undying desire to live and breathe in a free country, a democracy for today and tomorrow.
Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights. — Timothy Snyder
We cannot allow beggars of profit and contempt of our declaration to create a fake narrative berating the ideals of our golden shores. In our freedom, we must demand that what is just, is sacred. That your God is not our master, but our God is as tolerant and as loving as the hand that created the many unique faces, the reds at sunset and the break of dawn…an artist, not a tyrant who rules by fear. We can no longer allow for the degradation of humanity, the destruction of miracles, and especially the one miracle we call home, along with the expectation of angst and overwhelming heartbreak. It is the people who matter in America. We are the fuel that moves us forward. In our rapid race today, to a nostalgia of better days that were actually mere stepping stones to a better us, collectively. We have been rendered frozen in a lost time. To save ourselves, we must embrace where we have come from, and be with commitment, certain of where we are going. To be brainwashed by a man who is clueless to history, ignorant of place, and does not understand the dilemma of “tired and poor”, there can be no honor of time or love of treasured ideals. If we trust in our constitution, and if we value the dignity of our citizens, then we must, once again, lift our lamp to the world as a nation moved by peace, enchanted by freedom, and devoted to justice, not just for some, but for all in a fair and educated society. It is our only hope, and remains the hope of the world.