American Virtue

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.”

America is many things, but this poem is the America that I was taught all patriots died for. The land of second chances. The only place where a person has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not vested in them by man, but by a higher power. Our entire constitution was a contract of rebellion against a tyrant who unfairly exploited the people in the Americas.

Yet, here we are. This land gives no chances, period. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are all for sale. Don’t have enough money? Well, that’s unfortunate for you. Our government is separating children from their parents, arresting refugees, and making a liar out of our Lady Liberty. I see the huddled masses, the homeless tempest-tost, and I’m sorry America that they aren’t the color you wanted them to be.

Actually, I’m not, because Lady Liberty never said we’d only take in the poor white foreigners. Our constitution never specified that only white men were to be equal. Those who had the means to conquer and to lord over his fellow man as a king did just that. They all do that now and demand that you blind yourself to see their lies as truth. Many of you happily submitted yourselves to their request so long as it removed your discomfort. Now, you’re docile to the tyrants’ will. Swollen with complacency so long as you are allowed your creature comforts.

“Damn the downtrodden fool! He should’ve worked harder! Don’t mind the boot on his neck! We all suffer one way or another!”

But there was no boot on your neck. No hunger gnawing at your stomach until your brain went hazy. There was only the fear in your heart that you could be next. And instead of helping the “fool” and easing your fear, you spat on him with your words and lied to yourself. You turned away and gouged out your eyes so that you could never be convinced and though that fear still eats at you, you’ve settled for scapegoats that you roast at your convenience to keep you from any revelation.

But I see it. I cannot blind myself to the truth bearing its ugly maws poised to rip out my jugular. I cannot sit idly by and pretend nothing’s wrong!

This is America!

The home of the bigot and the land of the afraid.

This is America!

But it doesn’t have to be. America never lived up to Lady Liberty’s expectations, but it’s not too late. Look in your heart and think logically about this situation. Is it not strange that you can no longer empathize with your fellow human beings? Is it not illogical that you plant yourself firmly behind an arbitrary political line that’s indifferent to your struggle? Is life not hard enough without this system creating more miserable conditions to frighten you with the media and force you into buying the solution?

Shouldn’t you be living your life with the liberty to choose your own destiny and pursue whatever makes you happy?

So I say again:

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.”
This is Virtue.

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