At a time when the United States is more divided than ever and our very president is intent on attacking and dismantling the open-armed immigration system which made this nation so great, a powerful symbol of that open-armed promise went dark.
On Tuesday evening for approximately two hours, the lights meant to illuminate Lady Liberty went dark. Just hours before the beginning of International Women’s Day and a nationwide strike by many women, the Statue of Liberty herself took a short break.
According to the National Park Services, the temporary outage was not the result of any cleverly-planned public statement but rather a technical issue due to ongoing repair work being completed on the large green statue. Still, the timing was peculiar.
Folks online who learned of the outage could not help but see the brazen symbolism. When our nation is actively working to undermine everything that Lady Liberty stands for, the offense may have just been too great – the loss of respect so overwhelming – that she just had to lay down her torch for a minute to grieve.
After all, when we think of the Statue of Liberty, an 1883 poem by Emma Lazarus comes to mind:
“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-tost to me,/ I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
And yet others saw a more timely symbolism in the happenstance event – on International Women’s Day, thousands of women nationwide plan to skip work and other obligations to demonstrate just how vital the work and contributions of women in this country are. Maybe Lady Liberty’s short darkness was in solidarity with that message, and a reminder that the best of America comes from the female gender.
As CNN noted, this is not the first time that the Statue of Liberty has been used in recent months for political commentary – just last month, protesters unfurled a giant red banner at the base of the statue which read, “Refugees Welcome.”