Should the Statue of Liberty be dismantled?
By: Cahir O'Doherty | Published Sunday, June 19, 2011, 9:06 AM | Updated Friday, September 9, 2011, 10:15 PM
The Statue of Liberty was once more than a tourist stop: it was once a genuine beacon of freedom to millions of people around the world.
It was, too, for a long time, a universal symbol of hope and promise for immigrants coming to America.
On the inner walls of the statue there's a bronze plaque that to this day includes the following lines:
"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!"
But nowadays, of course, the golden door has been wedged shut by people who believe liberty really means the liberty to exclude.
We are a suspicious, threatened and divided culture now and we'd really prefer it if you tired, poor, huddled masses would just stay home.
And in the minds of the main players in the Republican Party we are also now a Christian nation, in stark contradiction to the founders' original intent. Just ask Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, John McCain or George W Bush.
For decades now this fake history has paved the way for an insular Christian Nationalism. It's ongoing project. It's no accident that a 2007 poll from the First Amendment Center showed that 65% of Americans now believe the founders intended the US to be a Christian nation and 55% thought the US Constitution establishes the US as a Christian nation.
So perhaps, in keeping with views of a significant number of us, we should dismantle the Statue of Liberty and build a Statue of Exclusivity. With a bible in one hand and a sword in the other, perhaps.
It would be more honest about the kind of welcome that immigrants can expect to receive these days. It would be more honest about the false narrative of Christian nationalism the GOP has been crafting for decades - and its increasing hostility to anything different from itself.
We used to like liberty in America, but nowadays we just like the liberty to exclude.