Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Statue of Liberty in Trumpland

Americans used (past tense used most advisedly) to celebrate how open their shores are. Isn’t this how the city of New York got the “melting pot” metaphor attached to it?
Think back a few years and recall Godfather II. Fleeing gangsters in his homeland Sicily, a runaway registers himself as Vito Corleone on Ellis Island, not too far from the Statue of Liberty. I am sure Vito could not have read the poem that now supposedly attests to the freedom of those who land in the United States of America. Even otherwise, his community was there to welcome him, and they must have cited the opportunities available. He, of course, chose his own path, and the rest is an Oscar Award.
I give below a short extract from the poem one sees on the pedestal supporting the famed Lady with the Torch. This should resonate with Donald J Trump, if he ever read it. Hoe would definitely find ways to twist and turn the poem to make money, for himself.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Now, to the location of the statue – on the eastern shores of the US, calling out to Western Europe. Over time, the call reached over to Eastern Europe, when the USSR met the fate of Humpty Dumpty – the wall collapsed and so did the USSR.
It is sad that San Francisco did not have such a beacon. The Japanese immigrants got incarcerated. I am given to speculating that this shameful act would not have come about had there been a Statue of Liberty looking over the Pacific Ocean.
Now, Trump, given his undisguised contempt for the “others”, has a few options. He can send the Statue of Liberty back to France saying, “Thanks but no thanks.” Nativism and isolationism, all rolled into one –ism.
Or, he can, through an executive order, change the poem to reflect his preference for the monied and wealthy from other countries (preferably white, but wealthy Chinese are welcome; Russians are particularly welcome). Steve Bannon will be in charge.
The third option is to put up similar Statues of Liberty at all points of entry into the US with immigration checks and/or processing. Oh, I almost forgot, a statue at suitable intervals along the Wall of Trump to be constructed, of course, with Mexican money. The argument? If France could donate the Ur Statue of Liberty, Mexico could do as well with ersatz statues!
Now, get to work Donald Trump.
Raghuram Ekambaram

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