Call me Libby. Like many before me, I am an immigrant. Conceived in France, I am the offspring of an artist who named me after the Roman goddess of Liberty, but I prefer my less formal and more Americanized name of Libby. I first came to America through the great portal of freedom that is New York harbor, and although I am by my very citizenship part of every corner of our great nation, I am especially proud of my home city.
It has afforded me a unique vantage point to understand our national identity from the first seat of our national government, through the industrial growth and expansion of our national economy and, to the unforgivable acts of cowardice and murder of the innocents’ on September 11, 2001 just to cite a few!
Like many immigrants before me and since my arrival, I was not immediately accepted. Skepticism, mistrust, suspicion were the lenses many saw me through even before I left France, but ultimately the goodwill and charitable spirit that is at the core of our great Republic helped me establish a solid foundation that has been my bedrock ever since! I harbor no ill will or animosity regarding my initial reception and have long since come to see it as an immigrant’s rite of passage into the great experiment of Democracy that is America.
History does repeat itself, and I was not fully accepted at first like many before me and many since, but like millions of other immigrants, I am now an integral part of the very fiber of our national identity. I am not ashamed of my country of origin; in fact, I cannot imagine starting my life anywhere else other than the country that is most responsible for our Republic’s very existence, but I know deep in the recesses of my heart and soul that I was destined from the moment of my conception to be a citizen of the citadel of democracy. I deeply and profoundly love our great nation, but this love compels me to hope for many injustices and inequities to be redressed, so I offer the following partial list of New Year’s resolution for America to appropriate as her own:
- May I (America) humbly and sincerely ask for, and earn by my actions, the forgiveness of the countless indigenous men, women and children who I systematically and methodically murdered in the names of growth and progress;
- May I humbly and sincerely ask for, and earn by my deeds, the forgiveness of the countless African and African-American men, women and children upon whose backs’ and by whose blood our nation prospered;
- May I never send our most precious treasure - our citizen soldiers – into harm’s way for any purpose other than a clear and imminent danger to our national security;
- May I never reward those who exploit the weak, the humble, the innocent or the trusting for their own personal or financial gain;
- May I only accept public servants who act for the common good, and reject any and all who violate the sacred trust of public service;
- May I act to serve and meet the needs of my own citizens first and foremost, and see my place in the world pivotal, but not at the expense of my own citizens both extant and yet to be born.
If you scoff at these resolutions as being naïve then you probably would also mock the construct of our Republic as most succinctly and fully captured by Abraham Lincoln’s pray for government by the people, for the people and of the people never perishing from the earth.
May 2011 be the start of our Republic living up to its’ promise and its’ place in world history based upon actions and deeds motivated by liberty, equality and fraternity in tribute to the all who spilled their blood and exhausted their treasure to help secure our very freedom. May we earn God’s blessings not just by our glorious words, but more importantly by our noble actions.
Ms. Libertas (Libby) Bedloe