A poem, (written by Emma Lazarus) that is highlighted on the base of the Statue of Liberty contains the following:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tossed to me. I lift my light beside the golden door.”
What would our Miss Liberty say if she could speak? One imagines that she would have too much to say about the empire that now owns her tons of metal. How could she not?
If you’re a working stiff who is but a few paychecks from financial instability, then you are tired. Tired perhaps of working too many jobs to pay the man. Or tired of working a ‘dead end’ job for a bum paycheck. Maybe you are tired from having to trek too far for that job you need. Or a single mom (or dad) who is tired from having to work full-time in addition to being responsible for your children’s well being.
If you’re poor, well, you have way too many obstacles on the road to sustenance. The ‘safety net’ which was once called government services has been, decade by decade, cut beyond recognition. To rely on the ‘charity of others’ maybe worked well in some rural community of the far past. Not now.
If you live in a big city or near factories and plants that puke out pollution, then you are not breathing free. If you’re a convict placed in some ‘for profit prison’ due to a non violent crime, who knows how long you will be kept before able to ‘breathe free’. Or if you are one of those seeking to cross the border to find work and living accommodations, well, Uncle Donald is keeping you as ‘huddled masses’.
As far as ‘The wretched refuse of your teeming shore’, this doesn’t have to be about people, rather the tons of plastics and other ‘should be recycled’ items that poison our waters and our wildlife… especially fish. The waste that our government, and of course, the real culprits, BIG BUSINESS, do nothing about as it destroys our drinking water, our groundwater, and our lungs.
The poem says that ‘I lift my light beside the golden door.’ Well, the only way that can be accomplished is if too many of us, the ones the poem describes, stand up and begin speaking ‘Truth to power’. Frederick Douglass said it best: Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has. It never will.
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Philip A Farruggio is a contributing editor for The Greanville Post. He is also frequently posted on Global Research, Nation of Change, World News Trust and Off Guardian sites. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 300 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. He is also host of the ‘It’s the Empire… Stupid‘ radio show, co produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at [email protected].