Once upon a time, the concept of liberty was a liberal idea. But seemingly no longer. In the hands of the right wingers and libertarians, Liberty has been twisted and mangled beyond all recognition. We can no longer recognize the face of liberty as one that cares about the impoverished or downtrodden or that sees government as a means to empower the people. Instead, Liberty has lost her heart. She has forgotten who she is and where she comes from as she now wears the latest fashions and moves in circles of the wealthy. Once suspicious of wealth, she is now enamored with money. Previously a beacon for the world’s disenfranchised, she now erects walls around our borders. She once was poor; now she wears diamonds. When she was young, she was railed against disenfranchisement of the American people, now she protects the power in the hands of the few.
What happened to Liberty? How did she forget who she was and where she came from? Why did the fire in her eyes for justice burn out? Some say she got involved with the wrong crowd in her teenage years, a group that had grown up pampered and who no longer remembered the trials and tribulations of their immigrant forbears. They misunderstood her and led her astray from who she really was. She forgot that she was once of lowly birth, her mother, Hope, and her father, Justice, loving parents with little material wealth to their names. Others claim she never really changed at all and had always been this way from the beginning, that she never really cared for those in need. Her old friends know this not to be true.
What can be done about her? What can bring Liberty back to the fold, back to her people? Somewhere inside Liberty is a memory of who she really is: she knows her roots were with the common folk. She knows that her purpose is to care for all, not just the few. She remembers faintly that not everyone grew up with the opportunity that she had. She still vaguely remembers Hope and Justice, her parents. Somewhere inside she remembers that the powerless are her friends.
We, Liberty’s friends from her old life, can help her remember. We can remind her of who she was. Like good friends who don’t give up on a friend in trouble, we wait for our old friend to return.