Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Sun Is Setting On Liberty In America

The Sun is Setting on American Liberty

Refugees from tyranny once came to America to be free, or so the story goes. This evening, at sunset, I was photographing Liberty from a public pier on the East River, New York. A guard, with a heavy foreign accent came up and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was photographing the statue of Liberty. He told me that I was to follow him back to the ferry terminal and present him my ID to be logged in, as I was taking pictures. I declined his invitation and told him I was within my rights. He asked if I was a journalist, and I said, "Yes." Then he asked what paper I was published in, and I said the Villager among others. He told me to follow him and again I declined. He became so upset, that, though the sun was setting I followed him inside. There I announced that I was giving him my ID under protest that I was exercising my rights as a citizen in public. Many people nodded to me. He then said, "Why are you telling me that you have rights because you are White. I am a citizen also." I explained I did not say my rights were because I was White, and if he was a citizen, all the more wrong for him to deny another citizen his constitutional rights. He told me I could go and photograph all I wanted if I only gave him my ID. Again I told him I would do so under protest.
Scream citizens. Yell and cry out for liberty when your right to walk out streets, to sing, to speak, to write, to photograph all are challenged. Tyrants fear expression. Be loud, be as loud as those Sons and Daughters of Liberty who raised Liberty Tress and threw tea in the harbor. These rights we loose today we will never see again.

Words Lorcan Otway
Tune Birmingham Sunday
All rights reserved.

By Bennington's fields in the steel light of dawn,
Crouched by a stone wall, where I knew they'd come on,
Musket primed for a foe from far over the wave,
In the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In this fledgling young nation, just learning to fly
We rallied to Shays, vowing Live Free or Die,
George Washington's thugs searched for thousands like me
Our crime being brave, our intent to be free

In tobacco fields, my mother's labor pains
Brought me to the life of the lash and slave chains.
I fled north to Canada from slavery
To the home of brave and the land of the free.

See Crazy Horse ride with no fear o'er the plain
To Greasy Grass battle, a victory to gain.
From Yellow Hair's murders his people to save,
The Lakota live free in the home of the brave.

In a dark prison cell, I barely can see
Hans Yoder who lies bruised and tortured like me.
We Quakers and Amish no Great War will fight.
We bravely sought freedom from tyranny's might.

With great grandfather's musket, I offered the fight
To a coward in a jet plane who struck in the night.
My forefathers fought in these mountains like me
Made Afghanistan home to the brave and the free.

So pause in these days when the banners all wave.
Ask yourself, what is freedom, and where are the brave?
Have courage to stand with the brave and the free
When your nation strays from the path of liberty.

Hold fast to liberty.
It is evening in America


At 7:38 AM, Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Near a day labor pickup point this morning, I saw a mural that featured, front and center, Lady Liberty holding up a scroll that read "No human being illegal."

And one of the things that really drives me crazy is how much weight we Americans put on skin color. I'm convinced it's the reason so many people have trouble seeing how much my sister and I look alike. We have basically identical bone structure, but I got the Scots-Irish coloring and she got the Eastern Woodlands coloring, so people tend to assume we aren't even in the same family.

It makes me sad to think of how many of my friends are looking at moving to Canada.

At 3:19 PM, Blogger ash said...

sing it Lor. Sing it from rooftops and jukeboxes.


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