THE BLOG
11/15/2007 05:36 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Suggested Revisions to the Plaque on the Statue of Liberty

The mayor of New York has given up his attempt to issue drivers' licenses to undocumented aliens. And Hillary will soon be gently moonwalking away from that moment when she seemed to agree with it. Immigration as political football. Xenophobia occasionally disguised as patriotism and a stern immigration policy. Ok, so maybe it wasn't a great idea. Maybe it was imperfect. But its biggest fault was that it didn't get to the root of the problem. The problem is that people still think the door to the country is open. And the cause is right there on the Statue of Liberty itself in the famous lines from "The New Colossus," by the nineteenth-century American poet 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 is what's wrong. It's the damn plaque. It creates an impression that we're actually looking for people. We're lousy with people. Especially "those" people. Homeless? Refuse? Poor? C'mon, we're drowning in them. It's false advertising to suggest we want more. So why not just be honest about it and change the words on the plaque itself? A few options might be:

"I'm sorry, but we just got out of a bad relationship we're not ready to get serious with anyone else."

"Thank you for your interest in the United States of America. Unfortunately, at the moment we're not seeing any new people. Leave your resume with the receptionist and we'll get back to you should our staffing needs change."

"Keep your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Send us your supermodels and soccer players. Ok, keep the soccer players."

"Light of freedom, my ass. It's a blowtorch. So just turn the boat around..."

"Keep moving, nothing to see here..."

"Just go home, we'll outsource the jobs. "

"We're not free. We're just undisciplined and lack structure. "

"No vacancies."

"Open door policy now under review."

"Please use delivery entrance around back. "

Or maybe just: "This is New York: Fuck you. Fuck your hopes. Fuck your dreams. "