There are a number of plaques on the Statue of Liberty, such as this one commemorating the important role of Freemasons in the statue’s history, and another from the Boy Scouts. Most of these plaques have of course never been assumed by anyone to be the law of the land.
But one plaque bearing a poem by Emma Lazarus, added 17 years after the Goddess of Liberty’s opening, has been retconned into displacing the real meaning of the Statue of Liberty, making it into a Statue of Immigration. It’s remarkable how many people in positions of influence seem to think Emma Lazarus’s poem is the Zeroth Amendment to the Bill of Rights:
Similarly, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright today thundered:
There is no fine print on the Statue of Liberty.
The President should consider dedicating a new plaque at the Statue of Liberty that is truer to its original purpose. One possibility would be excerpts from the once-immensely famous Independence Day oration by John Quincy Adams. Here are lengthier excerpts that could be drawn upon:
On July 4, 1821, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams delivered an historic address on U.S. foreign policy. After reading the full text of the Declaration of Independence, he continued:
… From the day of this declaration, the people of North America were no longer the fragment of a distant empire, imploring justice and mercy from an inexorable master in another hemisphere. … They were a nation, asserting as of right, and maintaining by war, its own existence. A nation was born in a day. …
The Declaration of Independence pronounced the irrevocable decree of political separation, between the United States and their people on the one part, and the British king, government, and nation on the other. … But there was no anarchy.
From the day of the Declaration, the people of the North American union, and of its constituent states, were associated bodies of civilized men and Christians, in a state of nature, but not of anarchy. They were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct. They were bound by the principles which they themselves had proclaimed in the declaration. They were bound by all those tender and endearing sympathies, the absence of which, in the British government and nation, towards them, was the primary cause of the distressing conflict in which they had been precipitated by the headlong rashness and unfeeling insolence of their oppressors. They were bound by all the beneficent laws and institutions, which their forefathers had brought with them from their mother country, not as servitudes but as rights. They were bound by habits of hardy industry, by frugal and hospitable manners, by the general sentiments of social equality, by pure and virtuous morals; and lastly they were bound by the grappling-hooks of common suffering under the scourge of oppression. Where then, among such a people, were the materials for anarchy! Had there been among them no other law, they would have been a law unto themselves.
They had before them in their new position, besides the maintenance of the independence which they had declared, three great objects to attain; the first, to cement and prepare for perpetuity their common union and that of their posterity; the second, to erect and organize civil and municipal governments in their respective states: and the third, to form connections of friendship and of commerce with foreign nations. …
And now … inquire, what has America done for the benefit of mankind?
… She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations, while asserting and maintaining her own. …
Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.
She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit. …
Her glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of mind. She has a spear and a shield; but the motto upon her shield is Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.
John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) was the sixth president of the United States (1825-1829).
It’s almost as if the Statue of Liberty weren’t really all about Invade the World, Invite the World.
(In reality, the Statue of Liberty is about Freemasonry.)
Or Trump could put up a screen playing this: