Tag Archives: West

Three Great Ladies


I, like many, have been intrigued with the Carly Fiorina candidacy for President of the United States. Many of us have eagerly waited to see if she was more than a CEO with controversial reviews. In the first debate she was clear, cogent, and compelling. In the second debate this last week she was even more so, with a powerful composure, an admirable knowledge of the world, and an iron will, not unlike our “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher, in England. 

Ms. Fiorina has separated herself from other female candidates over the years, aided by Mr. Trump’s inappropriate comment, by making her presidential bid about merit not gender. Women sighed with relief nationwide. Did you hear it? That universal sigh? At last, we thought, someone who understands.

But what I hadn’t focused on, and probably why as a writer I have come to especially value her candidacy, is Ms. Fiorina’s use of language. She is a poet with an intuitive sense of the power of words, images, and symbols. She understands America’s need for the right phrases at the right times to draw our nation together, to heal our divisions.

Her closing statement, using the images of Lady Justice and Lady Liberty, spoke to Americans’ hopes and dreams, our very identity. It explains why waves of migrants are fleeing to the West with only the shirt on their backs, why thousands make great sacrifices for a glimpse of Lady Liberty in the New York harbor, why they count on Lady Justice for their future. It explains why America is indeed exceptional:

I think what this nation can be and must be can be symbolized by Lady Liberty and Lady Justice.

Lady Liberty stands tall and strong. She is clear eyed and resolute. She doesn’t shield her eyes from the realities of the world, but she faces outward into the world nevertheless as we always must, and she holds her torch high. Because she knows she is a beacon of hope in a very troubled world.

And Lady Justice. Lady Justice holds a sword by her side because she is a fighter, a warrior for the values and the principles that have made this nation great. She holds a scale in her other hand, and with that scale she says all of us are equal in the eyes of God. And so all of us must be equal in the eyes of the government, powerful and powerless alike. And she wears a blindfold. And with that blindfold she is saying to us us that it must be true, it can be true, that in this country in this century it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what you look like, it doesn’t matter how you start, and it doesn’t matter your circumstances. Here in this nation, every American’s life must be filled with the possibilities that come from their God-given gifts, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Such patriotism is scoffed by liberal academic elites. But after years of these elites governing, years of dangerous sophistication and overweening arrogance, years of enforced political correctness, Americans are disheartened and angry enough to look to someone brave and true. We bolt our doors and fear the dark. Our streets are not safe. Our police are attacked and prevented from enforcing the law, in communities where the law needs enforcing. And we wonder when terrorists, abroad or at home, will next attack.

I recalled Ms. Fiorina’s Lady Liberty when I recently read Rob Greene’s poetic description of the New York harbor statue (“The World is Still Yearning to Be Free,” Wall Street Journal). He writes of Emma Lazarus’s sonnet engraved on a plaque that was placed on the ground floor of the statue in 1893:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,/With conquering limbs astride from land to land; /Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand /A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame /Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name /Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand /Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command /The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. /”Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she /With silent lips. “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 to this day, we welcome legal immigrants to our shores, as long as they welcome us, as long as they embrace freedom and liberty, justice for all, speak our language, as long as they want to be Americans, unhyphenated, undivided.

The Statue of Liberty, made of copper, was designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, built by Gustave Eiffel, and given to the U.S. by France. Somehow, I would venture to say, our “Eiffel tower” is more powerful (and beautiful) than Paris’s Eiffel Tower. Representing the Roman goddess of liberty, Lady Liberty holds a torch that lights the path to freedom and a tablet of law inscribed with the date of American Independence, July 4, 1776. A prisoner’s broken chain lies at her feet (Wikipedia).

Ms. Lazarus’s poem is titled “The New Colossus,” referring to the Greek Colossus, one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World,” a statue erected on the island of Rhodes in 280 BC marking victory over Cyprus. Our Lady Liberty, the new Colossus, is quite a different creation, a “Mother of Exiles,” a “mighty woman.”

And so is Ms. Fiorina. The tablet that Lady Liberty holds is the law of Lady Justice, blind justice, equal-under-the-law justice. Many Americans have forgotten what that means, as it grows more rare with each day. Many Americans feel they have been exiled from their own country or one day will be.

And so I thank you, Ms. Fiorina, for reminding us of these two great ladies, Liberty and Justice, and for giving us renewed hope in America. I pray that you inform the substance and standards of future presidential debates and that having raised the bar, others must reach higher. I pray that those who belittle excellence, who crave clamor over conversation, that they take note that this is how we want debates to be, this is how we want our leaders to sound, this is how we want to be represented to one another and to the world.

For we Americans have become those masses who are so very tired and poor and huddling and yearning to breathe free. We are exiled, and we want to call America our home once again.

Waking the West


This last week we recalled the September 11, 2001 attacks on American soil. As we mourned our dead and honored our heroes, waves of migrants fleeing oppression flooded into Western Europe. 800,000 men, women, and children are expected in Germany this year. It is a vast humanitarian crisis caused by Western benevolence.

America’s exceptional roots were planted by Christian Europeans, and the saplings, those thirteen colonies, grew strong, while the parent plant, Europe, declined. Europe has retained its own exceptional ideals of freedom, equality under the law, individual rights, and religious liberty. It even from time to time fought for those rights, that way of life Americans and Europeans have taken for granted.

Sometime after World War II, or perhaps earlier, Europe began to count on the protection of their American ally and ensure cradle-to-grave social programs for their citizens.

But America’s eviscerated military has left them (and us) exposed, leaving the Western way of life undefended. Now that we have become more like Europe in our national deficit, burgeoning state, and slashed military, who will protect us?

Bret Stephens writes in the Wall Street Journal how “We wanted a new liberal order – one with a lot of liberalism and not a lot of order. We wanted to be a generous civilization without doing the things required to be a prosperous one… the result is our metastasizing global disorder… openness is a virtue purchased through strength.” Every parent knows how painful yet necessary it is to practice “tough love.” Benevolence is not always good and often harmful.

Waves of desperate people are fleeing their homelands in the east. They are entering Hungary, Austria, and Germany; they are circling through Iceland and into Oslo. They are fleeing persecution, war, and poverty, looking for a better life. Peggy Noonan quotes the U.N. refugee agency when she says that they are coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iraq, and Somalia. The majority are Muslim men.

Walter Russell Mead, professor at Bard College, writes in the WSJ of a “Crisis of Two Civilizations,” claiming that the Islamic worlds have tried and failed to create a workable society, so that the victims of the resulting tyrannies are fleeing into what they see as a prosperous and safe Western civilization. But the West no longer knows who it is or where it is going.

The Goths that crossed the Danube and conquered the Roman Empire didn’t find much resistance for the same reason. The Romans had become effete with a weak military. They didn’t know who they were or what to preserve and defend or why.

Professor Mead describes the crisis in Europe and the West:

Increasingly, the contemporary version of Enlightenment liberalism sees itself as fundamentally opposed to the religious, political, and economic foundations of Western society. Liberal values such as free expression, individual self-determination, and a broad array of human rights have become detached in the minds of many from the institutional and civilizational context that shaped them… Too many people in the West interpret pluralism and tolerance in ways that forbid or unrealistically constrain the active defense of these values against illiberal states like Russia or illiberal movements like radical Islam. (italics mine)

The Western world has a right to defend itself, its ideals and way of life, with military might. If nothing else, we must keep that defense at the ready, simply to assure the balance of power and peace in the world. American withdrawal from the mid-eastern theater in the last eight years has been a key factor in this current humanitarian crisis. We share the guilt with European governments who shy away from their own defense.

As we remember the Trade Center bombings, the Pentagon attack, and the plane crashing in the Pennsylvania field, those tragic attacks on American soil, we must face the unwelcome fact that the world has become less safe with all of our benevolence. It may be too late to teach our children the roots of freedom, so that they understand who they are and what they must defend, but we must renew our efforts. 

We must encourage policies that ensure prosperity, capitalistic policies that grow the economy, so that we can afford a strong military that will keep the peace with its presence. Some experts say it is too late for Europe to wake up from their dream and rally a defense. Is it too late for America? The answer lies in the next election.

nine-eleven cross