Every day I drive past the Statue of Liberty on my way to work. I pass by the Statue of Liberty on my way home.
In the morning, in the darkness right before the sun comes up, the Statue of Liberty is lit up with a glow projected up, and that glow is one of the only things I can see through the blackened trees.
In the evening, when I return home and the sun is just about to set, there is that amber glow of sunset hitting the buildings in NYC and hitting the Statue of Liberty, too.
The whole world is a great big junkyard. America is a great big junkyard. Entire world is. Everywhere you look, every single country, a magnificent junkyard. Some of those junkyards have beaches or mountains or better art museums than others, some of those junkyards are dusty, some of them are hardly anything but lush jungle that humans can’t cut down fast enough.
The reason America is my favorite junkyard, the junkyard I love best, is because of the Statue of Liberty. We have this idea that anybody can come to our junkyard and anybody can leave our junkyard. But every once in a while some dummy goes and messes up the Liberty part of the Statue of Liberty.
Our junkyard might need a different statue, instead.
A statue for each town. The Statue of Xenophobia. Each town gets one.
So then we can take our children to the center of town. Make it a custom. 4th birthday, take the kid to the center of town and explain the town’s Statue of Xenophobia.
“This statue is here because everyone in this town should be afraid of everyone that lives outside of this town. Learn it now. Be afraid of everyone outside of this town.”
If that doesn’t work, how about a Statue of Xenophobia for individual blocks?
Just the other day I was in Paris and looking at the Statue of Liberty replica that was put on an artificial island on the river Seine to protect their harbor. The Île aux Cygnes, the replica is called.
The Statue of Liberty was of course a gift from the French, and placed at our Ellis Island to welcome immigrants. But hey guess what, we gave France back a replica of the same statue. A gift.
How about that? There is another version of the Statue of Liberty and it is on the other side of the world. Just chillin’. It’s sitting on the river, and the sun hits it too.
A few days before I left for my trip to Paris I ran into someone I haven’t seen in a long time and while catching up, I mentioned I had my bags packed and was headed to Paris for the week to check it out with my wife.
This is what they said, “Are you out of your mind? You can’t go over there? Isis! Terrorists are all over that place. World has changed.”
But the world hasn’t changed. Ever since civilization popped up, it’s been a series of junkyards closing in on each other. Some of the junkyards have better jazz than others, some of the junkyards you can get the best food you’ve ever eaten on any corner. Some of these junkyards, you can walk up a set of marble steps and learn anything about civilization you’d ever want to know. Other junkyards aren’t as well stocked.
I believe in America and I believe in the Statue of Liberty. And as any student of the past will know, this country has done its fair share of severely screwing up in concern to people who aren’t white skinned, and well, looky looky here, we’re doing it again.
Take your children to the center of town and explain, this town isn’t the end of the world. Point in any direction. Say, the world is vast, the world is sprawling. Do not be afraid of people beyond this town. This state. This country. This junkyard.