At the base of the Statue of Liberty is the poem by Emma Lazarus, “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.”
This was a nation that took pride in its openness. This was a nation that exceeded all social and economic expectations, because we welcomed the world with its energy, drive and competition; because, unlike other nations, we celebrated our diversity while encouraging its industry. We once led the free world and encouraged the unfree to rise up. We cherished our freedom and respected our science.
Out of fear (or is it fear mongering) we now slam our doors shut, shutter our windows to reality and huddle behind our walls. As a result, we cede world leadership to others. We have not been attacked within our boundaries by anyone from outside since 9/11.
But now, 15 years later, we have a president who rails against the outsiders and a population that cheers him on. How did this once proud and forward-thinking nation retreat so quickly? Perhaps we’ll tear down the statue and put up a wall.
Jeffrey Kern, State College