Mother of Exiles redux

On July 4th, I wrote about how America is still the greatest country in the world because of the ideals laid out in the founding documents and elsewhere, e.g. in the Emma Lazarus poem “The New Colossus” inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.  My point was,  “If we come up short in trying to make those ideals reality, that’s one thing. But if we abandon them altogether, we are lost.”

The New Colossus described Lady Liberty as the “Mother of Exiles”, and for the millions who saw those words for the first time on entering New York harbor, it validated all the sacrifice,  hardship, and uncertainty they had faced to make their way here.


Among those millions were the antecedents of Donald J. Trump and many others in the current administration, including Stephen Miller, the vile little worm who is “policy adviser” to your president.


A couple of days ago, Miller was explaining the administration’s new immigration policy, which drastically reduces the number of legal immigrants we will accept, requires them to speak English, etc., and he got into an exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta, who asked Miller if these new rules honored the spirit of Lazarus’ poem.

Miller took the opportunity to say,

“the poem that you’re referring to was added later. It’s not actually part of the Statue of Liberty.”

No duh. So what? It was added because that’s what the statue meant to us (and the world), and continued to mean for the next 115 years. Until now. Miller dismisses it as something like graffiti that needs to be cleaned off.

Maybe the time is now at hand when we can no longer claim to be the greatest nation on earth because of our ideals. Maybe we are now officially lost.

I have often said that the Germans, of all people, should not presume to provide moral guidance to anyone. Not for another hundred years or so, by which time the project of re-writing history to expunge their crimes will surely be complete. I have said that until then, they can just keep their teutonic pie-holes shut and let others criticize us.

Well, maybe their time has also come sooner than I imagined. Here are some images from their Rose Monday parades a while back. You decide.


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