Walls, Fear, and Monuments 

Sunday, January 29, 2017, 11:27 PM - Politics
Posted by Seven


On October 26, 1886 the Statue of Liberty was complete and opened to the public. It was a gift, and our greatest monument, rivaling the ancient Colossus of Rhodes and was a beacon to all those who came to America. It was the first thing ships saw coming over the horizon and it signaled to immigrants and refugees that they had arrived in the land of the free where they could begin their lives again, free from oppression and persecution. On the massive colossus these words are etched.

"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!"



Text on the Statue of Liberty

This was a nation vastly removed from today's politics, where terms like "melting pot" originated to give character to this young, prosperous, and mostly empty land. "E. Pluribus Unum", or , "Out of Many, One" was and still is our national motto. We are a nation of immigrants, that today, is trying to pretend it isn't.

During the early 20th century a large portion of Europe fled to America and not one of the millions of refugees had papers or anything else for that matter as they stepped off the boats into a new world. All of the immigrants, your grandfathers and great grandfathers, arriving at Ellis Island were undocumented. They gave their name, age, were quarantined briefly, and that was it. The only difference between then and now... is that those Europeans where white and Mexicans are not. Our immigration policy today has proven to be racist at its core because we don't seem to care about Canadians or illegal European immigrants. We're just afraid of the brown ones. Decades and decades of conservative fearmongering has us afraid of what built this country.


Ellis Island, 1880s

With the political climate of the last 50 years or so maybe it's time we tore down the Statue of Liberty because too many Americans don't believe in what it says anymore. We could even use the steel to build our new border wall with Mexico. Unfortunately for Trump and anyone else putting their faith in walls, however, historically they have never worked.

The Great Wall of China didn't stop the Mongols from crossing into China, though many died trying. Hadrian's Wall didn't stop the Picts (Scotts) from crossing into Rome, though many died trying. The Berlin Wall didn't stop the East Germans from crossing into the west, though many died trying. Trump's Wall will succeed though, despite hundreds of drug smuggling tunnels that already exist under the border. And therein lies the problem, the border itself.


Migrant worker ca. 1950s

Back in the 50s we had an open border with Mexico. Every year mexican migrant workers would cross the border, work to plant and harvest our fields, and then take their meagre earnings back to their families in Mexico where it would buy ALOT more than it could here. They came, and they went. Illegal immigration wasn't a problem because Mexicans only came here to work. They didn't want to be American, they were Mexican. That is, until we closed the border. Mexican workers who were already here feared if they went home, they would never be allowed back, so they stayed and sent money home. Eventually the men wanted to be with their families and if they could, had them smuggled across the now "sealed" border.

This was the beginning of our illegal immigration problem, and the billions of dollars we'd spend every year trying to enforce a vast imaginary line in the desert. And now that we're going to drop billions more on this monument to American fear, we don't deserve the Statue of Liberty anymore. It belongs to a previous, greater nation.

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