Thanks, France

Statue of Liberty,
125 Years Old Today

Dedicated on October 28th, 1886, this gift from the people of France became New York’s biggest symbol and helped singed the U.S.’s global brand of tolerance and benevolence to citizens of the world.
How much that still holds true is the subject of a sometimes passionate but often sad debate over our nation’s diminished role as a champion for global peace and freedom for all.
Still, it’s as good a moment as any to meditate on what’s happening to our character and moral compass, our destiny and what we really want to be our legacy to future generations.
When our best qualities, our longing for social justice and prosperity for every man and woman, are being challenged by a minority who benefit the most from the sacrifices of everybody else, we know we’re not in such a great shape.
When our elected leaders turn their backs on us, and send out the police to beat us and repress us and prevent us from claiming back what was taken by force from us, we find ourselves having a hard time believing we can ever count on them again.
When we see our young and gifted president failing to seize the moment and missing his place right alongside the majority of us in our cavalcade towards justice, we also have our moments of doubt.
When we realize that even our troops, returning from senseless campaigns abroad, are liable for being shot like criminals in the streets just for trying to join their voices into the chorus of the discontent, our hearts ache.
When we notice that those who caused widespread misery across the land, who took our jobs and our houses, almost breaking up the system in the process, are now wealthier than ever, our nights turn sleepless and we simply can’t stop hurting.
It pains us to be on our own but if we look back, all the way to our independence, those brave warriors were also alone.
Perhaps, if it hadn’t been for the now so wrongfully vilified nation of France, they could have failed and faltered then, and all of this lament would have no need to exist.
But the fact is that they did succeed, and so will the 99 Percenters, and the majority of Americans. In the process, we may once again put our best foot forward and finish building that nation they’ve envisioned in the past and that’s still yet to come.
Time will tell whether we’ll ever trace it all back to the start of the Occupy Wall Street movement and its growing army of supporters from all walks of life, including some 1 Percenters who refuse to subscribe to their own club.
Time may come when, more than tonight’s fireworks in homage to this momentous anniversary, it’ll be liberty itself what we will be all celebrating.
By then, perhaps the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and their children’s children will be living in a different world, when everyone will know by heart what freedom is all about.
A world when we won’t need to list our basic rights to dignity, to free education and health care, to labor and social justice, to fair immigration laws, to compassion with veterans, children and the elderly, to animal rights and environmental protection rules.
For that’s the world that Miss Liberty is holding her torch for. That’s what the good people of France wanted to underline with their gift to the U.S. over a century ago.
That no matter how low you may be at this time, we’ll rise again, not as rulers but as an exemplary force for peace and freedom for every citizen of this world.

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