The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
—Emma Lazarus, 1883
As an immigrant transplant to this land, I cherish this poem perhaps more than any of the other iconic American literary masterpieces.
It embodies, in few but powerful words, the hope of millions that have found refuge and shelter on these shores.
It was the search for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that forged this country.
It was that invitation to all people that aspire to freedom and the opportunity of a better life that made this country great.
It was the “American dream” that powered the most progressive social revolution in the human history.
But now the dream is dead.
We don’t have dreams anymore.
We are not guided by a vision of progress, of a better future,.
We are just dreaming of the “good old days” and the only thing we have is the “hope” that things will get better again.
But things do not get better on their own.
Left to their own devices things just crumble and fall.
Hope without a vision is just an empty promise; a narcotic for the masses.
Hope without action is hopelessness.