“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, the tempest tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Once, very long time ago, those words were true. In fact, many of you reading this are the product of the sweaty union of two or more of those tempest tossed pieces of refuse yearning to breathe free – I know that I am. That was perhaps the golden age of America, when people were welcome to come here. Granted, the system wasn’t perfect – there were abuses of the system and of human beings. That having been said, there also was a sense of welcoming, a sense that people had a place to go to escape oppression and that place was the United States. How far we have fallen from those times!
In fact, things have gotten so bad that I think that inscription needs to come off the Statue. Maybe we should replace it with one that says, “If you are white, wealthy, and successful, and can do a job nobody already here can do, we might let you in.” You see, immigration has become one of the few remaining parts of this country (with the exception of the deep south) where racism operates unchallenged and where fear rules the day.
Of course, it should be no surprise that fear rules the day. We have suffered under one of the biggest fear mongers our nation has ever known for the last eight years – the only good news is that Dubya is proof positive that fear is the refuge of fools. As Hermann Goering (Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, President of the Reichstag, Prime Minister of Prussia and, as Hitler’s designated successor, the second man in the Third Reich) so correctly pointed out years ago:
“Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
We have seen this kind of manipulation impact our immigration system, which is hopelessly backlogged – largely because it is under funded and under staffed. What better way to close the gates of this nation that to make sure that there aren’t enough people to process the paperwork? Then we have the audacity to declare those who have paperwork in the system for years “illegal”. The sad truth is that, politically at least, building walls and closing borders plays better that doing the responsible thing to clear up the backlog of immigration cases. It’s easier to instill fear of Mexicans and Canadians than it is to admit that we are racist in our immigration policies. We would much rather perpetuate racial profiling than educate the public. Such practices are morally bankrupt, to say the least.
Why not just tear the statue down – its message is outdated anyway. We could replace it with a statue of a huge jacket with a “Members Only” logo