March On, Lady Liberty

statue_of_liberty2

Liberty is the prevention of control by others.

This requires self-control and, therefore,
religious and spiritual influences;
education, knowledge, well-being.
—Lord Acton 1887

At a time when liberty and freedom are under attack in this country as never before, it was a welcome breath to see this sweeping footage of the Statue of Liberty put up on youtube this morning, as Obama announced that he would like to re-open public access to Liberty’s crown:

With this move the Obama administration hopes a message will be sent to the world, that “the path to the light of liberty is open to all.”

“Lady Liberty”, has always been a symbol of freedom and democracy, that’s what makes her beautiful.  She reminds us that the very nature of liberty is bred of self control and self taming beliefs, the ability to look beyond our own greed and accomplishments to the needs of those around us.

In the culture war between self and others, she pleads with us to rise above our petty natures by her example:

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!”

(The New Colossus–By Emily Lazarus 1883)

Looking outward with her searching gaze, she seems to speak to the heart of hopeful immigrants, but her message is first to us.  Her stern face and outward dress derive from the Roman goddess Libertas, symbol of freedom from slavery, oppression and tyranny.  Her image, caught in motion, doesn’t stand still in hesitation or waiting for direction at rigid attention, but with the free motion of an individual, a leader,  is constantly pressing forward, crushing broken shackles at her feet.

Her wish is our wish, to be free.  In her hands, she reminds us how the nation’s liberty is kept, with the torch of spiritual enlightenment held aloft for guidance in one hand and tightly grasping the tablet of knowledge in the arm of the other.  These are the keys which ensure continued free exercise of liberty.

Sam Adams, recognized as the father of the American Revolution, noted this about human nature:

“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy…  While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader…

If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved.  This will be their great security.”

As much as I applaud the possibility of seeing the spacious views from atop Liberty’s crown, whether that wish becomes a practical reality or not is immaterial.  She already sends, and will continue to send, the message to the world that the path of liberty is open to all.

March on, Lady Liberty.

–Beetle Blogger

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9 Comments

  1. ruthtalks said,

    January 23, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Never in American history has a new President screwed up so many times in his first three days as President.

    Barack obama has set a world’s screw up record worthy of the Guiness Book of Records.

    The next four years are going to be fun, fun FUN!!!

    I like your blog and would like to exchange blogroll links with you.

    If that’s OK post a comment on my site with the link to this site and I will add you to my blogroll.

    http://ruthtalks.wordpress.com

  2. January 23, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Great post!! Thanks Beetle. I love lady liberty! I went to NY with my family the summer before 9-11 and we got to go to Statue of Liberty and climb the hundreds of stairs up to the top and look out over the harbor through the windows in her crown. Everyone should get to experience that. It was amazing. She is huge and gorgeous! I hope Obama does open her back up to tourists. I hope it will make people think about our culture and society and all that we could be if virtue and morality and freedom were really valued and practiced here as our Founding Fathers intended.

  3. screemin_stevin said,

    January 23, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    I’ve never been to New York, except to drive through it. I’d like to see Lady Liberty though. It is a shame that the terrorist threats and fire hazards have kept the public from seeing her up close, but you’re right, she’s just as breathtaking whether you climb to the top or not. Logistics wise, I think they can onlly fit 30 people up there at a time. They have thousands of visitors, even if it were open, it would be hard to get the chance to go. If you do drive up that way, take my advice, watch out for those Jersey drivers!

  4. James R. said,

    January 23, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    I really like the opening quote.

    Liberty is the prevention of control by others.
    This requires self-control and, therefore,
    religious and spiritual influences;
    education, knowledge, well-being.

    That really caps it right there, everything that is going on in our country is encapsulated in these lines. You can’t legislate utopia, it has to be self generating. If you try, you just get socialism.

  5. Euripides said,

    January 23, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    “The path of Liberty is open to all.” Isn’t that what George W. has been saying all along? I guess it doesn’t count unless Obama says it.

  6. Liberty Belle said,

    January 23, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Euripides,

    You’re not the only one who thinks so! I found this yesterday on another blog:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=216538&title=changefest-09-obamas-inaugural

    I about fell out of my chair the first time through it.

  7. Nerozero said,

    January 23, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Liberty, you’re a hoot!

  8. Delirious said,

    January 23, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    I wonder if this means he will be supporting the amnesty bill for illegal immigrants.

  9. Lillian said,

    January 24, 2009 at 10:17 am

    In my faith there is a quote from scripture: “seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” I was thinking how Liberty’s torch and tablet are symbolic of the same idea.

    So many people think that truth is found by either one or the other, but God, being the author of truth, speaks in many ways. All truth is his.

    Isn’t that the very heart of the marriage struggle? Of the culture wars? What is truth and how do you find it? How do you follow it? Is freedom found in following God or your own path?

    Thanks for the insight. I hadn’t seen lady liberty in that light.


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