It has been eighteen days since the 45th president of the United States was sworn in as leader of the free world. So far, there have been eight signed executive orders and twelve signed presidential memorandums. With the power of the executive branch, it took only three executive orders to effectively alter the policies of our country, turning the nation of immigrants into the laughing stock of the world. Executive orders 13767 and 13768 began the painful and costly task of taking on illegal immigration and building a wall along the southern border. Executive order 13769 bans entry of all people from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspends the refugee program for 120 days. These executive orders affect the make-up of the United States in culture and diversity in ways that even our national monuments contradict. At the entrance of the Statue of Liberty, engraved on a bronze plaque, is a sonnet written by Emma Lazarus called The New Colossus. It was first written in 1883 and adopted by the Statue of Liberty in 1903. The adoption of the poem gave the statue the characteristics we associate it with today.
The New Colossus
“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!’”
Millions came to the United States seeing her statue and hearing those words, the “Mother of Exiles.” One by one, they came to the nation that offers “world-wide welcome.” Almost in a mocking cry, she calls out to the countries that drive their citizens away and leave them to fend for themselves. She says, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me…” With the coming and going of presidents, our stances have differed from time to time for the better and worse. At this moment in time, we must remember that a president does not make a country. A country is made by the millions of its citizens and shaped by their common beliefs. If you see injustice, stand up to it and make your voice heard. Presidents come and go, but Liberty still stands, and it’s time to stand with her.