Boldly Inclusive: How the Statue of Liberty Can Illuminate Journalism

Liberty

Liberty is defined as the power to speak or act freely, and it is seen as an undeniable right in America. Being bold entails the opposite of being meek or fearful. Staking a claim in the world is a bold thing to do. Similarly, so is not being afraid to express yourself. The revolutionary act of liking yourself could be perceived as a bold statement, particularly in the United States of America, where the phrase melting pot may bring to mind an instrument that boils identity and flavor out of culture and rewards those who are the same.

Inclusivity means to cover everything required, something that contains an element as part of the whole. Standing out while broadcasting the parts of a whole is an ideal that Guardian Liberty Voice operates by. The importance of bold inclusivism in journalism is a sentiment that can be described in a broader context of American life, through the use of a symbol that is known throughout the world.

The Statue of Liberty has chains at her feet. The distinctive shade of sea green is like the edges of an old penny moldering in a couch cushion, which color the links that lie broken at her bare foot. This simple detail speaks volumes when one considers the gravity of that image. She is the welcoming beacon of America, a silent promise to the world that all who voyage to the land of opportunity are going to be able to start a new life that they can cultivate. Whoever crosses the oceans and airways in need of rescue, have landed upon safe shores, where they are free to exercise their liberty. However, that liberty has not come without a cost.

America has made a practice of sidestepping the harsh truths of what has built this country as an economic superpower.  It seems as though hoping that if enough people attain satisfaction with their own position, the voices of those lost can be ignored. Yet Lady Liberty remembers, she has known bondage and will carry that reminder as long as she stands, for those who choose to look.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.” The poem entitled “The New Colossus,” which contains this welcoming verse has been inscribed inside the Statue of Liberty. However, it is not exactly an ideal that has been practiced with much faith, certainly not at the time of her installment in 1886. There were original American residents, who lived here long before any Pilgrims landed on a rock, who have not been duly acknowledged. There were the 12.5 million men, women, and children who had absolutely no choice as to what their role in this country would be but discovered their role as part of a bloody understructure of what would become one of greatest economic powers in the world. There were the thousands of immigrants who would break the seas in half for a chance at something better for their children, only to be met with derision. These examples should remind everyone that the cost of American freedom, for some, more than others, is not free in the slightest.

Our rights, our privileges come to us slick with the blood of not only those who continue today to fight and endanger their lives, serving our country but those who died for a wholly different set of ideals and freedoms that they should have been afforded as human beings. How can they be honored in everyday life? How can the modern American public, in particular, live its collective life on the backs of a legacy where some were not afforded a voice or any sense of liberty. This stark reality is at odds with the utopian dream of this country.

One could be boldly inclusive. If one were to consider the company motto of the Guardian Liberty Voice, one must also take into account the vast and varied network of writers and educators, people from all walks of life joining together to form a collective of news and opinion, meant to illuminate, entertain and observe the world.

To be boldly inclusive is a philosophy that is at once, progressive and traditional in its ideals, as CEO and founder Dr. Dimarkco Chandler posed in “Boldly Inclusive – A Historical Model.” “No institution should be more esteemed than its human beings.” He details the historical climb of man, citing the observation that Thomas Jefferson made, that fear was the primary factor in man’s advancement in the world.

Once the everyday struggle of basic survival was mitigated, another conflict emerged. It was the issue of a commodity; how else would man establish his dominance, but, to have the most, the best, and be envied by other men? This question of strength could be tied to fear, due to an enormous swathe of terror that is still casting its shadow across our country. Fear of poverty, hunger, weakness and being regarded as inferior can be a motivating factor. It is from these concerns that the old vicious aphorism was born, thanks to Plato: Might makes right.

This has seemed to be the underlying script that many would live their lives by, “As long as it is not me or mine.” Those fearful ones have murmured through their actions, completely willing to allow grave injustices and egregious harms to befall others, as long as they could remain comfortable and safe. The exclusion of others and fear of the other have been cultural milestones for American history.

Discrimination based on a group of people and their religion, financial circumstances, nationality, looks, sexual orientation or gender expression is something that has gone hand in hand with history. Might makes right, would have the country completely bolstered by its own providence and good fortune while forgetting the other that had been shunted aside. However, Plato’s opponent, Thrasymachus supplied the often forgotten other half of that same aphorism is, but justice is simply the interest of the stronger.

At Guardian Liberty Voice, it is implied that “We The People” are clearly the stronger. Chandler and his intrepid team have adopted being boldly inclusive, as an American ideal, that of the individual, or individuals, striving ahead and leaving their mark, and have applied it towards a Global initiative, the idea that everyone should have a voice and be represented equally in the context of journalism. Journalism is merely a vehicle to understand someone else and hear their perspective.

“The American Dream” should not be at the expense of anyone if anything it should fit seamlessly with the of a Global Generation. To accomplish this, one might suggest that instead of submitting to fear and lashing out at ideas and people we do not understand, we boldly lift our voices and find a way to come together, not in a homogenous blending of similar utterances, but in a sonorous example that suits each individual, allows space and respectful inclusion of as many voices, experiences, and perspectives as possible.

Due to the internet and modern day technology, people worldwide have the ability to share experiences immediately, learn from each other, and most importantly, have a bold voice that can stand out from the rest. In some countries, being boldly inclusive is not a viable option, which makes it all the more valuable.

Author Rebecca Solnit writes that hope is about “broad perspectives with specific possibilities.” She says that these demand or invite that we act upon them. Living in this day and age is a terrifying gift, that seethes with hope and despair. For those who would take up a bold voice for those who could not and cannot, it is a duty and a privilege to do so.

Lady Liberty’s fallen chains disappear into her robes, as old as the rest of her, 131 years, as of October 2016. Her sculptor was Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, a Frenchman who was commissioned to design a monument in time for the Declaration of Independence centennial celebration. It was to be a gift from France to America, intended to be a symbol of what France could be and throw an idealistic sheen onto what America was.

It was no small token; the monument was famously installed 10 years past the country 100-year commemoration. America agreed to be responsible for her pedestal, and the French would take care of the statue herself, and put her together in the States.

There was an issue of lack of funds, several historical names that would blaze trails in their own right came together to make the Statue a reality and bring it to completion. Poets, Journalists, prizefighters, architects, philanthropists and hundreds of builders contributed time and effort to have her completed. Bold talents of all kinds came together.

Joseph Pulitzer used the editorial pages of his own paper to publically admonish the rich who had not supported the fundraising for the pedestal, and the middle class who looked to the rich without contributing anything at all. His public scolding was enough to drive enough the people of America to donate and pull together sufficient funds needed to build the pedestal upon which Lady Liberty stands today.

Pulitzer boldly utilized his position of power to garner others into making change happen, urging along what would be a symbol of hope for millions of people making their way to their new home, and finding a home in a place they lived. Bartholdi crafted an image that became synonymous with the idea of freedom from prosecution, the chains as a reminder of the oppressed, inclusively covering generations of people that would flee to American borders. He named her Liberty Enlightening the World, and the chains at her feet lay broken.

Opinion and Blog by Juanita Lewis
Edited by Cathy Milne

Sources:

Guardian Liberty Voice: A Historical Model
Liberty-Ellis Foundation: Statue History, The New Colossus
Snopes: Statue of Liberty Origins
BrainPickings: Rebecca Solnit on Hope in Dark Times, Resisting the Defeatism of Easy Despair, and What Victory Really Means for Movements of Social Change
LAProgressive: Statue of Liberty Wears Chains and Shackles Honoring Freed Slaves
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Thrasymachus

Image Courtesy of Ana Paula Hirama’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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