“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
#2–“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
#3–“Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”
#1 is a poem by Emma Lazarus entitled “The New Colossus.” Its final lines are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. #2 is a quote by Elie Wiesel, author of Night, Holocaust survivor, winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize. #3 is Wendell Berry’s brilliant take on the Golden Rule.
These quotes are about peace, and peace is active, not passive. We must take sides. We must treat people the way we want to be treated. Our country is already in a civil war, but I don’t see it as distinctly partisan. It’s ideological. In other words, it’s possible to be pro-life AND pro-poor refugees from shithole countries. (Just quoting the president here.) I don’t fit neatly in a red shirt or a blue shirt in this civil war. I just want everybody to have a shirt…and some basic freedoms.
And sometimes we have to fight for freedom and peace, not just for ourselves, but equally for those downstream from us.
So we vote…and almost all of the candidates are distinctly red-shirted or blue-shirted. We must pick from our choices based on our ideology.
Too bad Lady Liberty isn’t a choice. I don’t see her standing in the harbor bearing a gun or a “keep out” sign.
She’s bearing a torch.