Fixing What’s Broken – an American story

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”



Most Americans are familiar with the phrase “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and think these words are, in fact, inscribed on the statue but the only inscription on Lady Liberty is found on the tablet she holds in her left hand, and that inscription is JULY IV MDCCLXXVI, which is, of course, the date (July 4, 1776) the United States adopted the Declaration of Independence.

The words “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” comes from the Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, New Colossus, which Ms. Lazarus wrote for an auction to raise money for the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty now sits. Actually, Lazarus’ poem did not receive much recognition after the auction and was quite forgotten. But, after Lazarus’ death in the early 1900s a friend campaigned to memorialize Lazarus and her New Colossus sonnet. After much effort her quest found success and a plaque with the poem’s full text was mounted inside the pedestal of the statue.

This seems to be one of many examples of what to many American’s believe to be true but which are half-truths or simply not true at all. Remember George Washington chopping down the Cherry tree? I was totally devastated to find out my lovely teachers had lied to me all those years ago. Not only did dear George not chop down the Cherry tree, there was, in fact, no Cherry tree!

So how do we fix this? When most Americans can’t tell you the three branches of government and what each does (FYI: they are legislative, executive and judiciary) nor can they tell you what is currently happening in those branches on any given day.

So-I ask: “How do we fix this” anomaly, this departure from truth?

Perhaps by switching television channels from reality TV to what’s happening on the Senate floor, for example. The ‘goings on’ of the House and the Senate is broadcast! All you need do is tune in. Granted the viewing is a dull lady but every once in a while you may benefit by a visit.

Another thing that I think can be of benefit is to engage ourselves in our community. Find out the date and time of your next town council meeting and attend! If not for a town council meeting one year in the 1970’s I would never have known the owner of a local pizza place could sing like Tony Bennett! You never know what will happen there ;) Go!

Another is to turn away from all the rhetoric bouncing back and forth during this years campaign(s) and dive into some archives to find out for yourself what is true and what isn’t. (you know they all lie) The reason most politicians have gotten where they are isn’t be being totally truthful; the reason most politicians have gotten where they are is because they can (1) inspire hope and (2) can tell us what we want to hear and doing it in a way that appeal to us. May I suggest taking a cue from (forbid me from ever giving a reference like this again, please) the television show The Voice (as originally put forth that is, not now!) and only hear The Voice – pay zero attention to the smiling face, the cute walk, the hair, the clothes, the what-ever-s that, in the past, have made your head go into a mushy land of ______! Only hear the VOICE.

And, last but not least, don’t trust the media, they are a lot of talking heads with an agenda. I watch several news shows. Some I can identify with, some I can not. And what I have found is that they all broadcast an agenda. I suggest watching with an open mind and not with selective hearing! These days, unfortunately, most news shows are entertainment. View them as such.

So, what’s to be done? I know! It’s called personal responsibility for yourself and to others. Its like being a pro-active warrior in your corner of this big world. Warriors have swords, right? Use your sword to slice through the rhetoric to the heart of what is being said. In other words, you take charge of the information, you keep track of it, you decide if you are being showered with the truth or if you are not. Just because someone in authority says it is so doesn’t make it so! Remember Washington’s Cherry Tree.

Weigh in and tell me what you think.

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2 thoughts on “Fixing What’s Broken – an American story

  1. Thanks Mary for the reminder. Accountability and integrity are our own personal responsibility. To avoid gullibility, believe none of what you hear and half of what you see. At my house, we don’t watch the news because my husband works in the news business.And I feel pretty good about it. And remember too, blogs aren’t news. Yes, even Huffington Post.

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