Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Give Me Liberty


On Sunday we went to see the Statue of Liberty. Or, as I found out, the statue entitled, "Liberty Enlightening the World".

Oh, the irony.

I had a hard time not getting completely choked up looking at that big green mama. It's an amazing sight. That is one strong arm holding up a beacon of freedom to the world.

Though I'm not a particularly political person, I felt a bit embarassed about the USA standing there among all the tourists speaking Italian, German, Korean, etc.

It seems like we're not doing such a great job of enlightening the world with liberty these days. And those huddled masses, yearning to breathe free? Well, I'm not sure the breathing is much freer over here actually.

The free pamphlet from the National Park Service describes the mood of the country while "French intellectuals" planned the statue: "Nationalism, prosperity, and new technology brought forth an era of monument building." Strikes me as similar to today's mood, except instead of monuments reflecting pride in our nation's founding principles, we have a proposed 700-mile fence along the Mexican border and increasing Islamic radicalism as a direct result of American arrogance.

I noticed that the base of the Statue of Liberty is remarkably militaristic in style. According to the pamphlet, the base is indeed Fort Wood, built in 1811. Perhaps another symbol, like the bald eagle, of American aggression?

Like I said, I'm not normally overtly political, but I couldn't pass up commenting on such an experience.

2 comments:

zygote daddy said...

Very astute observation regarding the country's current expression of nationalism and prosperity. Kind of ironic to have the statue of liberty at one end and a border fence at the other.

Oh right. But those were *white* immigrants...

Henitsirk said...

And the sad thing to me is, the "guest workers" or "illegal immigrants" or "undocumented aliens" or whatever we're supposed to call them are here doing the work no US citizen wants to do. I wonder if most people realize that Mexicans and Central Americans pick most of our crops, especially fruits and vegetables in California? Would our representatives in Congress want their relatives working in the unsanitary conditions on factory farms that lead to e. coli outbreaks? Do people really think immigrants are getting away with something by standing on corners waiting for day labor jobs, or cleaning hotel rooms for minimum wage?

I guess it's easier to say we need to seal our borders to "protect our interests" than to look at how these people are breaking their backs to provide us with our high standard of living. I wonder how many Ecuadoreans or Mexicans can get bags of fresh spinach in the winter?