Lady in the Harbor
Somehow the 4th of July and hearing Joe Jencks perform his song "Lady of the Harbor" soon after triggered this dream about the Statue of Liberty:
The Lady of the Harbor stands tall and proud, a sentinel to those who would be free, raising her torch above the glistening sea. I look down on her from a tower above. I see peace and love.
But in the air the whispers say, "they are not like me, they are different, they do not belong". Voices of hate and fear.
From the Lady a tear slowly forms and rolls down her steel cheek until it adds its salt to the sea. Like a mother crying for her lost children.
The whispers grow louder becoming shouts, demanding action. There are raids and roundups. With each brick in the wall, each knock on the door, Her flame grows fainter fading into the night, lost in the sea. Finally it is extinguished and gone. Darkness descends. Darkness prevails.
But the voices are not done. The words are co-opted, shouted and screamed, turned on themselves until truth and reason disappear with the light. On the Lady's plaque the words on the inscription grow faint. The "huddled masses" are not needed, have been replaced - the words are erased. "Yearning to breathe free" is too dangerous - deleted. The wretched, the homeless are wanted no more. They are invisible like the words on the plaque. Finally the plaque is blank and follows the tear into the sea. Swallowed by the same darkness.
Then someone says that the Lady is un-American. At first there is a gasp but the refrain is repeated and repeated, louder and louder. This new word travels fast. The case is made. She is a foreigner, worse she is French, she is undocumented, she is unrepentant, she is colorblind. She is dangerous, the children will learn the wrong lessons. She must be removed, deported.
They celebrate her departure.
As I watch the people who drove the Lady away build a barrier. Perhaps it is to wall themselves in, to protect the rest of the world from them. They are free to hate, to be alone with their weapons, alone with their fear.
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. by Emma Lazarus
One Small Voice
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