Liberty Enlightening the World (poster for Women's March)
(Image by Meryl Ann Butler) Permission Details DMCA
America, like every country, was born with masculine and feminine sides. But our feminine aspects of compassion and grace seem nearly lost to us today.
Poet Emma Lazarus (1849--1887) wrote "The New Colossus" in 1883 in order to help raise money for the construction of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Her words offer moral contrast with our current state of patriarchy reveling in its own bullying and abuse.
Colloquially called the "Statue of Liberty," the work of art's given name honored the original intent of a fledgling country: "Liberty Enlightening the World." After nearly 100 years, weather, pollution, and sightseeing had damaged Lady Liberty, particularly the symbol of her beacon of welcome, her torch.
It was time for the United States to address the dimming of her light. So the Statue of Liberty--Ellis Island Foundation was founded in 1982 to raise the funds for the largest restoration project in American history. The statue was restored by 1986. Re-enlightement and restoration of the soul of America is the next step.
Our country's July 4th birthday provides a perfect moment to reflect on the perspective of compassion in this stunning sonnet, which was written to help provide the foundation for the feminine face of America.
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,