Dear Lady Liberty, Lady Justice, and Uncle Charlie,
Great nations often communicate their core values in words, symbols, and actions. Our current president uses tiny words in short sentences expressing hateful thought. He holds no firm values. We wait for the day he will be impeached or removed from office. Until then, I want to assure our “Ladies” and our families’ Uncle Charlie, that we love them. Not all of us have lost our way. In fact, the vast majority of Americans hold and live the aspirational values of the nation.
Dearest Lady Liberty, our ancestors stood on the deck of their ships anticipating your light: the light of freedom; the promise of a better life; the belief that no one is defined by the circumstances of their birth, only by their God given talent and ambition and work. You stand, arm uplifted. You stand through winter nor’easters and sweltering summers. You communicate our core values to the world as a nation of opportunity.
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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
This is who we are. This is what we believe. We apologize to you. In November of 2018 we hope to remember, to make amends, to end the assault on the American values you represent.
Dearest Lady Justice, we see you standing blindfolded with your sword and scale guarding our most hallowed Hall of Justice. The scales you hold represent the commitment to the weighing of evidence, measuring thoughtful argument pro and con. Your sword depicts swift and forceful justice. You stand blindfolded for eternity in honor of a critical idea – the rule of law. That NO ONE is above the law – not the wealthy, or the politically connected, or sly prevaricators: fair and equal administration of the law “without corruption, greed, prejudice, or favor.”1 We watch with horror the direct assault on our belief in you, in justice.
We apologize to you, Lady Justice and to ourselves. In November of 2018 we hope to remember, to make amends, to end the assault on the American values you represent.
Dearest Uncle Charlie, we’ve never met. You died too young in a flaming B52 bomber over the Pacific. You never came home. After receiving the letter from the War Department, your mom and dad went to the movies every Saturday to watch the news reels from the war front in the hopes of a glimpse of their lost son. He was a simple farm boy of the greatest generation. The grandson of immigrants, he believed in Lady Liberty and Lady Justice. He gave his life for our values, a sacrifice our current president avoided because of “heel spurs.”
We apologize to you, Uncle Charlie, and to the almost half a million American service members who died between 1941 and 1944. We have embarrassed ourselves. In November of 2018 we hope to remember, to make amends, to end the assault on the American values you represent.
Liberty and Justice have not been perfect. America supported enslavement, and Native American genocide, yet the aspiration has been toward justice and liberty. We work toward a more perfect union. We still have a lot to do. We are currently in a moment of darkness. Our values corrupted.
Lady Liberty, Lady Justice, Uncle Charlie, we promise to remember. We promise to restore. We promise to do better. We promise to organize, shout from the rooftops, and vote our values in November.
1National Foundation of Patriotism