Trending

Newsletter

Donald Trump’s Assault on Lady Liberty

By: Frank Calviño - @FrankCalvino - Nov 15, 2016, 8:36 am

Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York
Statue of Liberty in New York, New York (wikimedia)

In New York there is a beautiful, internationally renowned lady — and it’s not Ivanka Trump.

It’s the stoic green titan that’s stood silently in front of Ellis Island giving us courage and solace through America’s worsts times. Lady Liberty, The Mother of Exiles: The Statue of Liberty.

That’s right, Mr. President-elect Donald Trump, she’s called the “Mother of Exiles,” not “¡Migra córrele córrele!

On her pedestal, these words are engraved:

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!”

The United States of America is the home of the brave and the land of the free — and that goes for immigrants and refugees as well. To deny this is to betray 240 years of sacrifices made to uphold the nation’s core values — to defend a certain brand of freedom arguably unmatched anywhere else.

To deny this is to deny everything that makes the United States of America one of the greatest nations on Earth, a land worthy of admiration and praise.

Trump seems oblivious to all of this. He talks about policies that seem impossible logistically, economically or in the framework of international politics.

Let us assume that The Donald follows through on each and every one of his promises. The wall is built — paid for by Mexico, of course — and Obamacare is eliminated, mass deportations are carried out and a volatile approach to foreign relations becomes the new doctrine.

 

If these policies become a reality, Americans will have to face a massive dilemma. Trump’s policies, though legally possible, are fundamentally at odds with the country’s founding values. If they come true, the idea of America as we know it will cease to exist.

If Trump builds the wall, he might as well take down Lady Liberty too. Otherwise, it’s like hanging a welcome sign on a closed door.

Trump’s ideals are clearly anti-American. Compare his bombastic statements about “Mexican rapists” with Abraham Lincoln’s last annual message to Congress on December 6, 1864: “I regard our immigrants as one of the replenishing streams appointed by providence to repair the ravages of internal war and its waste of national strength and health.”

Yes, times were different: a war had ravaged the country and a cheap and reliable workforce was sorely needed. But has America not always been the land of immigrants?

The Times, They Are A-Changin’

Obliviousness to the country’s ideals are not exclusive to Donald Trump. This election has shown us that around half of Americans feel similar to the way Trump does.

Does this mean that Trump represents America? No. He rather stands for a new idea of America.

There is dissent within the Republican party. One can find all kinds of people who truly believe and represent American values. Unfortunately, they were overrun by the “real politics” of Trump’s popularity.

Trump is not a consequence of Republican ideology; rather he is a political consequence of unchecked mass media. Despite what they might have you believe, Trump is not the “candidate of the idiots” but the candidate of the masses — the politically uneducated, scared and desperate masses.

The masses usually end up supporting anyone able to produce a coherent excuse for their problems rather than someone who wants to tackle things with real policymaking.

In his speeches, Trump firmly reinforced placing the blame on others: Latinos, the Chinese, Muslims. The truth is that Mexicans and other immigrants are willing to work hard and for cheap — that the US economic decline can be explained by the boated government and consumer debt.

America’s failures are America’s own doing. The Pedros and Pablos are not to blame. The Lees and Sakuras aren’t either, nor the Mohammeds and Fatimas.

The terrifying fact is that Trump convinced the majority of the United States that these people are to blame. And so Lady Liberty might need to register for a name change. Perhaps Mother of Deportations, or Mother of Oppression.

Frank Calviño Frank Calviño

Frank Calviño is a journalist, activist, and writer who chronicles the struggles of Venezuela's working class. A literary critic for Venezuelan newspapers, he also specializes in 2.0 media and online marketing. Follow @FrankCalvino.