The Lady Weeps | Opinion | Salt Lake City Weekly
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The Lady Weeps

Miss Liberty has welcomed the tired, poor, oppressed and those yearning for freedom for the past 132 years.



Designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartoli, she stands in the mouth of upper New York Harbor, holding her light as a beacon for the persecuted, "wretched refuse" of the world—or, as President Donald Trump describes them, the Latino rapists and murderers, the gooks who constantly embarrass natural-born Americans with their superior Asian intellects and work ethic, the blacks who too often find themselves targets for bored, restless peace officers, and suspected would-be terrorists who are willing to end their earthly existence for martyrdom and the joys of 72 grinning virgins.

As the symbol of America's heart-felt empathy for a troubled world, Miss Liberty has welcomed the tired, poor, oppressed and those yearning for freedom for the past 132 years.

Well, we thought it could never happen but the time has come to tear down the Lady. Why should we consider such an extreme act? The answer's simple: She is no longer the symbol of a nurturing "Mother of Exiles," and if we, as loyal Americans, are going to support the inflammatory rhetoric of our combed-over lunatic-of-a president, her removal is a foregone conclusion. With every tear that falls from Liberty's copper cheeks, the salty road to freedom gets deeper and darker. Her torch flickers.

But, wait a minute; I'm having an epiphany—oh, yes, I can see it clearly: The tragedy of that ominously looming event can be averted. Instead of razing the lovely Lady, there is an alternative.

Far better than a funeral, Miss Liberty can be retrofitted with the appropriate accoutrements of our time. Sandals will no longer suffice. Let's nestle her feet in copper combat boots; put a riot-shielded helmet on her head, a flak jacket over her ample bosom, and embrace, in her welcoming arms, the latest mass-killing weaponry. That's at least a good start.

But what about the inscription on her base—the words of Emma Lazarus who penned the entreating message? Surely, a Trumpian poet will be found and commissioned. With a few cross-throughs and substitutions, Lazarus' words can be edited to better reflect the values of the presidency—a new and improved version to fit our time.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddle masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside her golden door." It was the great songwriter Irving Berlin, Russian immigrant and naturalized citizen, who put those inspiring words to music. But the song will have to be revised as well. Here's the proposed rewrite: Give me your oil-rich Norwegians and best Russian IT hackers, stunningly beautiful women who aren't adverse to having their pussies grabbed, filthy-rich investors who seek penthouses in the Trump Tower, and don't send anyone who has the audacity to criticize the nonsensical ramblings of the rabid orange raccoon's erratic leadership.

And, of course, a stanza will be added musically embracing the doctrine that any professional wall-builders will be given immediate citizenship. As per The Boss's instructions, it goes without saying: The flowing gown of Miss Liberty will have to be hiked up a bit for easier access.

Irving Berlin's lyrics will be replaced with words of harsh reality, and there will be a rousing chorus: "Fuck the poor; screw the blacks; use the women for what they were intended; send the ragheads back where they came from, and bow down to money—the one and only god. Give us your filthy rich, your whites and your dyed-in-the-wool Republicans sheep." (Maybe not so poetic, but it's really the substance that counts.)

But here's the caveat: There's a chance Miss Liberty can be saved and that her words can be sung with fervor and pride by generations to come. I realize that indiscriminate immigration is not a legitimate choice, but we need to remember that She is the embodiment of America's deepest core values. For God's sake, let's be the great nation we once were. Not by building walls, not by incarcerating children, not by echoing the racial and religious hate fomented by the world's most reprehensible and ruthless despots, but by embracing the values of compassion and love that have been so profoundly missing since January 2017.

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