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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Golden Door No More

Smack (or, I suppose, almost so) in the middle of New York Harbor is a tiny island that contains not much more than a fort of the 1800’s built in the form of an 11-pointed star and serving purely as an elevated platform on which stands a truly enormous, light green statue that can be seen for miles, geographically speaking, and in fact all over the world, spiritually speaking.  The name given to this statue by its makers is “Liberty Enlightens the World,” though in the U.S. it is somewhat less elegantly known as “The Statue of Liberty.”

This statue was not “made in America.”  Instead it was the result of three Frenchmen putting together their heads and their talents and quickly, efficiently, and successfully carrying through an idea from its inception to its very tangible and meritorious end -- though they would have good reason to be appalled at the physical and moral surroundings in which their conception in its concrete (though I should say “metallic”) form now languishes, 150 years later.

A historian named Eduoard de Laboulaye got the notion that what the world needed was a monument to liberty.  He passed his idea on to his friend, an artist named Frederic A. Bartholdi, who then came up with the design and also put his shoulder to the wheel in finding funds for the project.   Meanwhile one of their illustrious contemporaries in Paris, the builder of the Eiffel Tower, Alexandre G. Eiffel, put together the inner iron framework that supports, among other things, the 331 sheets of copper that, patinaed by the elements, comprise the outside parts of the statue and give it that interesting color of an apple not yet beginning to turn red.

As an aside -- funny thing about the Eiffel Tower.

It would be mainly art students who would know that though the Eiffel Tower has meant Paris through and through for quite a long time, the Impressionists and the other now world-famous painters of the 1880’s and thereabouts were not exactly thrilled when that incredibly tall, ugly, inhuman, iron thing rose up smack in the middle of beautiful, thoroughly human Paris and overshadowed everything else around, and they generally avoided giving that unwelcome intruder any place in their paintings, even though they were as busy as could be recording the slightest glints on oranges, apples, and every other visual subtlety that offered itself.

But when it came to Bartholdi’s statue of that woman holding high her torch, things were different, mainly because as soon as all the parts were fabricated, those were packed into 341 boxes and shipped off in a boat to the U.S. as a gift, at a cost of $250,000 to the French people for the statue itself, and another $280,000 paid by Americans for the Fort Wood pedestal in the harbor.

The French, however, did keep a model of the statue that sits on a bridge over the Seine River in Paris – provided that it is still there at all, and also if the French, a sensitive bunch, have by now let slide the numerous, stupid insults that they had to endure from some Americans for not taking part in the 2003 travesty of invading Iraq, which was a blunder of gigantic proportions that, with the just concluded election, now has every chance to be repeated, in various forms, since the new U.S. President-to-be was voted in by the same numbskulls who so roundly condemned France for acting so intelligently 13 years ago.

Let’s face it.   The French are more evolved than not only Americans, but also the Irish, the Germans, the Russians, and the Spanish, or at least the French are somewhat so, and it’s possible that in 2003 they showed that, unlike their friends and neighbors, they had learned from the many mistakes they had made in Vietnam not that long before – blunders that a long string of American presidents repeated in the same damn place, and that GW Bush was blithely about to repeat in Iraq, with the same inevitable results.   Meanwhile let’s not do more than merely mention the especially dense British, who over the course of 200 years have had their behinds unmercifully beaten and kicked out of Afghanistan by the locals a number of times, yet every time the Americans say, “Let’s have another go at those Pashtun ragamuffins, the British are always right there, saying, “Righto!”  And again, always ending up with nothing but blood and misery to show for it.

That remarkable feat of engineering, the wonderful French gift, “Liberty Enlightening the World,” was unveiled in America in 1886 when Grover Cleveland was President, and 16 years later, in 1903, the statue was graced with the words that come to mind with any mention of it and give the statue its meaning, in the form of a poem written by a lady named Emma Lazarus and titled “The New Colossus.” 
The best known lines of this poem occur toward its end, and they go as follows:

     “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-lost to me.
     I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Sheer distaste has kept me from looking to see how tall that multi-storied rats nest, the T. Rump Tower, is, and so I just assume that the statue in the harbor cannot be seen from there.

In any case that big green statue in New York Harbor must be an intense embarrassment for the incoming T.Rump administration, so foreign is that concept of three Frenchmen as to what “liberty” means to the intentions of those who are about to take power in the U.S. these days.   After all the Rumpisants campaigned on principles that are exactly opposite to those espoused by men who remembered how their country had gotten rid of absolute monarchs a century earlier, and at about the same time that the U.S. was founded, supposedly on much the same principles, though not actually, since the so-called “Founding Fathers” did not really believe that “all men are created equal,’’ and especially that their slaves were real people, and so they were quite satisfied to let human slavery remain a law of the land for the next 80-some years.

What, then, will the Rumpisants want to do with a statue that is there in New York Harbor for only one purpose and that is to praise immigration, when the statue is on a concrete island that is now named Immigrant Island, and when their man in the Oval Office has proposed making registries of immigrants who are already here and building walls a la the Warsaw ghettoes to prevent other possible immigrants from coming here, both of these being measures used by the German Nazis against Jewish people?

Will they behave as if ‘”Liberty Enlightens the World” no longer exists?   Will they cover that statue over with a blood red tarp, for the duration?  Will they yearn to disassemble it and ship it back to the French, along with a bill for the cost of that operation, while planning to replace that statue with one of Pitchfork Ben Tillman or Theodore Bilbo?   Will they look around for a buyer, perhaps V. Putin, or, more likely, that model premier who now presides over another country that is now, bizarrely and inexplicably, well on its way to becoming a full-fledged fascist nation, B.Netanyahu?

My guess is that the “Statue of Liberty” is fated to become an example of the far right philosophy that up is down and down is up and north is south and east is west and west is east that has so far served so well for Rumpisants in perverting all notions and realities of long-standing truths, and that  in their eyes the word “liberty” will only mean the liberty to prevent men and women who are not “white” from even thinking about what Ms Lazarus had in mind when she wrote those immortal lines.

Whoever thought of putting “Liberty Enlightening the World” on such a small island really knew what they were doing.   At least, barring the use of a thousand barges, that location prevents T.Rump supporters from staging massive 1934 Nuremberg-type rallies there, a la Leni Riefenstahl’s  well-made though still tedious film, “Triumph of the Will,”  when that criminal section of the “white” population gets to the point of seriously exploring the possibilities of giving themselves the liberty to bring back slavery and so make “their” country great again.


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