Based on The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
I don’t claim to be a poet. The last time I studied poetry was probably in high school. That was a while ago. Recently, I was watching a new show (The OA), which featured a scene at the Statue of Liberty. Being from the west coast, I’ve never witnessed the statue in person, and I didn’t know anything about the poem that is featured at the exhibit. But as I listened to the words while watching the show, I felt my chest tightening in sadness and anger. The words really struck a chord with me. Strangely, the following day I saw quite a few news reports referencing the poem and describing feelings I’d become familiar with. With the recent moves the leadership has taken in this country, I felt compelled to amend the original poem by Emma Lazarus. The original words are in italic, my changes are bolded.
I keep telling myself that I will fight the urge to be public with my opinions when it comes to politics. But I feel like we’re at a point where it’s not about politics anymore. It’s about humanity. This is my way to work through it, I guess.
High school presidential elections: Salacious rumors emerge about candidates. Future pres’ makes promises they can’t keep, typically pertaining to lunch hour or candy machines. Homemade posters with cliche catchphrases adorn the hallways, and students are unable to avoid the race, no matter how far down they cast their eyes.
Before I step upon my soap box, I want to relay how difficult it was for me to decide to write this post. I have tried my best to avoid any topics related to politics. I’ve attempted to stay somewhat impersonal – although I know I reveal much within my stories – trying my best not to be pegged down to one side or the other of a given topic.
“What you fail to understand, Hailey, is that we’re just worker ants in this scenario. And we’re going to continue to be just worker ants, unless we aspire to be more.” Annette flipped her hair over her shoulder and shook her head, causing her blonde tresses to shimmer like sun hitting water in a stream. She dipped her chin and looked at me over the rim of her glasses, “I’m aiming to be queen of the hill. Where does that leave you?”
I was quiet for a moment. A wave of irritation washed over me at her revelation, and I tried my best to push it aside. Ambition was a double edged sword, and I was certain Annette had no clue which side did what. She struck me as the type of person who just lashed out blindly, hoping any slice she made got her closer to her goal. The mask she wore was crafted by layers of designer makeup, which she no doubt lost sleep over to apply each morning. As I stared at the empty, relentless vessel before me, I considered where I might be in five years if I held her position.