Between 1820 and 1920, approximately 34 million persons immigrated to the United States, three-fourths of them staying permanently. For many of these newcomers, their first glimpse of America was the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor.
The Jewish American poet Emma Lazarus saw the statue as a beacon to the world. A poem she wrote to help raise money for the pedestal, and which is carved on that pedestal, captured what the statue came to mean to the millions who migrated to the United States seeking freedom, and who have continued to come unto this day.
What would these immigrants see in 2002?
A plutocracy without a friend in the world that rejects them, bringing to mind fear, financial extortion and U.S. Marine invasion, a bunch of ignorant frisky children and their equally childish keepers, cowering under corporate rule, armed to the teeth without an ounce of courage. A place of quick cruelty and empathetic shallowness that rejects all moral principles, a place without any vision of human aspirations for goodness, a place of electronic voter fraud, corporate organized crime, drug and gun running, voter intimidation, traitorous corporations, massive cancer and environmental pollution, repressive religiosity, intergenerational poverty and intergenerational inheritance, a two-headed one-party state laughing with a forked tongue in the growing darkness.
America: The Old Colossus
Like the brazen Colossus of Greek fame,
with conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sewage gates shall reek
A mighty prostitute, polluting the air with oil burn-off flame,
from the imprisoned lightning of carbon sludge,
and her name, Madam of Plutocracy.
From her polluting hand glows world-wide fear;
her cold eyes command a smog choked harbor rank
with exploited refugees of foreign coups small, and puppet leaders grand.
"O ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. Will be all mine!
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless I have created, tempest-tost to me,
I set them to work under the ghostly flame of a twilight whore!"