Lady Liberty Besieged

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“This is not respectful discourse or a debate about free speech. These are not ideas that can be fairly debated, it is not ‘representative’ of the other side to give a platform to such dangerous ideologies. There is not a potential for an equal exchange of ideas.”

So rang the despotic chant at Middlebury College, where another volley penetrated to the anguished cries of our Lady. “Betrayed,” she thinks. “Betrayed again.” Goaded as always by the taunts of a heretic, and the potential of an unwelcome thought. In a mass they descended, with their placards and their smartphones and their values, craven glances, unwilling to look their victim in the eye. “Betrayed,” she thinks again, this time more forcefully, “commanded by students too stupid or masochistic to distinguish a heretic from their savior.” Will the attacks ever cease? Our Lady has begun to doubt so. Yet the names of the traitors echo in her head, never forgotten, “Yale, Berkeley, Missouri…”

Little doubt was left as to the culprit, a cult which goes by several names: The Alt-Left. The Intersectional Movement. Black Lives Matter. Whatever the name, it is responsible for the negation of speech and of freedom wherever its influence is felt. Its members are bred in the spawning grounds of college campuses across the country, incubated by the likes of Arianna Huffington, Buzzfeed, Linda Sarsour, and Shaun King. Its racial theories, societal ambitions, and ruthless pogroms entail the subjugation of our Lady and that of all non-combatants. And on the victims’ behalf, we loyalists are rallied to defend.

But there is an easy way out of the war, out of becoming a target. And for those unattuned to the siren’s call, it is a tempting offer in the face of total social exclusion. “Abandon your Lady,” they beckon. “All answers will be provided. All contradictions will be corrected. Check your privilege. Censor your speech. Hate yourself.” An easy enough prospect for some, yet implicit in the pact, a most grave corollary: fail to do so, and become our enemy.

The statues of Jefferson, of Roosevelt, of Rousseau—once lions of the Left—are vandalized, punishment for their respective transgressions in life. Meanwhile, the true enemies of freedom are given aegis. A clutch of hysterical cultists screams at a pile of magazines while their sisters abroad stultify in burlap sacks. Reporters are shoved, professors manhandled, and intellectuals expelled as men in suits read our mail and tap our phones. Liberal arts institutions, once shining bastions, lie in abjection, unable to protect anyone from the onslaught.

Elsewhere, on the White Throne sits the oaf of many faces. False prophet for the wretches, who in their haste to fatten up from the fruits of trade, did not realize the cost of such gluttony. Fat cow for the sycophants, savage creatures who rake their claws into the coffers of America’s children. For the chauvinists, Dear Leader, who speaks the not-so-uncomfortable truth about barbarians within the gates and to whom all praise is due.

The oaf is all this and more, yet given a rod and a mob, he swings indiscriminately, becoming most of all a battering ram. To the left and to the right he bashes and bellows. The oaf dooms himself by the enemies he makes. But with each passing of the rod, he pummels through our Lady sitting solemnly in the center, accepting her torment.

This is how we loyalists find the state of our freedom: beset on all sides by aberrations, opportunists, and those with claims on absolute truth. And while our Lady recoils in pain, a bear waits hungrily outside the walls.

Copyright (C) 2016 The Bates Student