If the Statue of Liberty could cry, I think that time would be now. Not only would she be crying, she would be screaming and hiding her face in shame. When I was 8 years old, my father loaded up the family ford for a trip to New York. We had relatives there and an annual visit was par for the course. My father wanted me to see the Statue of Liberty as he is a great believer in the power of education and cultural experiences. As we walked towards lady liberty, I was amazed at the sheer size and ran towards her hellbent on making my way up the multitude of stairs to reach the torch. Stopping along the way, my father told the story of how she was the welcome beacon to many who had been displaced and were fleeing their land for better opportunities. As he told the story my mind pictured what it must have been like for those leaving a home they had known to risk all for a chance at a new life. I wondered what they must have felt when they saw the statue for the first time. I wondered if they cried as lady Liberty held the torch guiding them to their new home. I imagined how they held each other tight relieved they were finally safe and heading to prosperity. To me her face was one of kindness. Now, when I think of her crying, I cry with her. I can imagine the shame and embarrassment she must feel as we turn away those she has always welcomed. I think of how we have ignored her message becoming a nation shutting all doors and cutting out the lights. We have forgotten that many of our ancestors were the ones holding each other tight on their way to a new way of life. We have allowed fear to have a parade.
Fear is a powerful motivating factor. Yes we are all aware of the events of Sept 11, 2001 where the twin towers were toppled by Muslim terrorist flying planes but conveniently forget Oklahoma city where Timothy McVeigh an American born terrorist wreaked havoc on a government building. We also forget Dylann Root who took the lives of 9 Americans as they prayed in a Baptist church in Charleston, S.C. Fear makes us want to hide, pull down the curtains and lock the country especially from those who look or think differently than we do. To believe that anyone or anything can keep us safe is delusional at best. Of course, we must be diligent as it would be naieve to believe in a perfect world where we all join hands and sing kumbahyah. We know there is evil in the world with a purpose to destroy but we cannot afford to allow fear to dominate and hate to win. One would hope that we as a people are bigger, braver and kinder.