Do People Understand What Is Really Being Said in the Emma Lazarus Poem at the Base of the Statue of Liberty?

There has been a lot of discussion lately about Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus” at the base of the Statue of Liberty and how it applies to the new immigration policy.

And yet, reflects Chip Crain (writing from Tennessee), from what he has read and heard so far, it is hard to believe that

many people have read the entire poem or understand what was being said in it preferring to quote one part of one line “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses” while conveniently ignoring the rest of the sentence “yearning to be free” or the rest of the poem itself.

The poem means the USA is willing to open their shores to people yearning for freedom not simply avoiding persecution, war or to attempt to bring about a political change via terrorism or any other means. This is saying we don’t welcome people to establish colonies of their old world countries here on our shores. The entirety of the poem is a rejection of the ways of their former countries and a celebration of the new colossus that is the USA.

I’m not supporting Donald Trump’s immigration restriction (which is country based not religion based but clearly established a priority of certain religions over others for admittance) but I do support limiting immigration to those ‘yearning to be free’ over those yearning just to get away. I am in favor of welcoming anyone who wants to exist in a country of freedom, where individual effort is rewarded and nothing is given or taken unfairly. A country that rewards individual effort and turns their shoulder to giving people something for nothing.

Likewise, I am against allowing those who want to change our country. I’m against those who are coming not with the intention of assimilating into a free society but rather to establish a society like they left. The poem doesn’t protect those who are coming to our shores to recreate the life they left. In fact it says the opposite.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp. Cries she with silent lips.”

In other words, stay at home those who wish to bring your old ways here. We aren’t a society saying ‘give us anyone.’ We are opening our shores to those who want to live in a free society that is different from what you left.

Taking time to insure those coming want what we are offering and not simply running away from what they have and with no intention of participating or even changing what it means to be American is not un-American. On the contrary it is exactly the sentiment spoken of on the Statue of Liberty.

I don’t know if Trump’s ban will accomplish what he wants but it isn’t un-American on face value in my humble opinion. It is humorous that the list of banned countries was started by Obama and no one complained about it then.

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