Monday, March 15, 2010

The Missing Link.

The Missing Link.

I know what you’re thinking: how could anybody defile our Statue of Liberty like this? Our very symbol of freedom and democracy, the icon we all rallied around after 9/11? Who would do such a thing?

The Republican Party, that’s who.

I took this photo in the lobby of a sprawling space at 220 12th Ave between 27th and 28th streets in New York City. It was rented on behalf of the Republican Party and converted to host after-hours parties for their delegates and insiders during their convention week. The week before the convention it was cleared for security by the US Capitol Police, whose mission it is to “protect and support the Congress in meeting its Constitutional responsibilities.” This statue – rented and installed there by the Republican conventioneers - is two stories tall and sat right inside the front door and immediately to the right of a large bank of metal detectors. “Give me your revelers,” it says around its base.

Building tenants were warned that it would be active each night from 10pm to 6am – and no wonder: lots of steam to blow off after endless speeches about why it takes George W. and Dick Cheney to protect us from dangers of the world we live in, and admonitions from the likes of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said, “To those who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say, don’t be economic girlie men!” And rants from Southern Dixiecrat Senator Zell Miller: “our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats' manic obsession to bring down our Commander-in-Chief." (A teaching moment, as President Obama might call it now, except these Republicans didn’t learn a damned thing, did they?).

At the time I questioned the utter hypocrisy of it all. How does the Republican Party come to New York, drape themselves in the American flag and family values, co-opt the Statue of Liberty as their convention symbol, parade 9/11 widows to the stage and shamelessly exploit this act of war in speech after convention speech, all within a heart beat of Ground Zero – and then erect an abomination like this?

I wanted to know how Rudy Giuliani felt about how his Republican Party defiled his city’s and his nation’s most powerful symbol of the very values they continue to lay claim to. Or Mayor Bloomberg? Was this George Pataki’s idea of how to welcome visiting Republicans into “hostile territory,” make them feel more at home? How did any of these guys explain this to their wives (ah, never mind)? And I wanted to know how “good Republicans” like John McCain (well, he used to be one) tolerated such a thing – especially since his party had adopted this very symbol to represent their convention. And by the way, who paid for it all?
And hey - why would these 2nd Amendment zealots want to set up metal detectors to screen for guns, anyway? It’s our inalienable right to carry the damned things. Ain’t it, or ain’t it not?

Problem was I was taking all this stuff way too seriously.

First of all, think about it: Mark Sanford and John Ensign and Paul Stanley and Mark Duvall could have walked into their 2004 convention party headquarters in New York City, taken one look at this sexy lady and said, “yeah baby! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”

And then it dawned on me: McCain was thinking ahead, too, and he must have come face with an inspiration:


Because less than four years later he erects another robust female figure, puts her on her own pedestal and names her “the next Vice-President of the United States of America!“ Let’s face it, Sarah Palin has a lot in common with this other Republican version of what must be their vision of what the real American woman is all about. Damn straight!

Most of America was surprised with McCain’s pick, but that likely did not include the Republican conventioneers at that 2004 convention party – they’d already seen a fully-authorized, pre-qualified, full-figured precursor-icon for an otherwise unknown who would storm America’s next election stage with breathless – and some would say, clueless – cheerleader chutzpah.
Think about the foreshadowing, the links between these two babelicious idols that at the very least must have represented for McCain a phantasmagoric contrast to what he was going home to.

Both assume one of those jaunty, look-at-me ain’t I hot? poses.

And speaking of hot … you betcha! …


“Give me your revelers,” is what it said to the Republican partiers at the base of the not-the-Statue of Liberty. And the she went back into storage. Give me a bridge to nowhere, said the Governor. And then she quit.

The not-the-Statue wears a tiara crown; the Statuesque wore one when she won the Miss Wasilla Pageant – but just look at her now, here she comes - still wearing one as if.

Both are stylishly adorned, some would say gratuitously sexy, both wardrobes funded by their enablers.

The not-the-Statue of Liberty has bigger boobs. The not-the-Vice President is a bigger boob.

Each one is air headed: the statue, literally, the wannabe … literally. In other words, they’re both empty suits. They are both political bimbos.

Truth be known, Palin has much in common with the real Statue of Liberty, too:

“The statue is built top-heavy in order to create a slight forced perspective and appear more correctly proportioned when viewed from its base.”* Which also describes the goal her political handlers would have to adopt in her election bid.

The Statue of Liberty holds a tabula ansata (look it up) in her left hand, representing the Declaration of Independence; the not-the-Statue of Liberty holds no such thing, tantamount to admitting she’s no pretender. The wannabe writes crib sheet notes on her left hand – a declaration of dependence - which is tantamount to admitting she is.               

“The statue was built to withstand heavy winds, but designed to sway when faced with high wind loads.” * Ring a bell?

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses … the wretched refuse … the homeless … ,” as it’s inscribed at the base of our Statue of Liberty. To which Palin could be expected to respond, “wouldn’t that be one of those dope-y change-y things for us Republicans?”

On the other hand … maybe this cheerleader ain’t so dumb after all:

                                                           “Gimmee an O … !

After all, if, according to the Republican’s last excuse for a president, “… the human being and fish can coexist peacefully,” then anything is possible.

*Wikepedia, The Statue of Liberty, Physical characteristics.

(c) Tim Arnold, Sept 2, 2004: all modified Statue photos.

© Tim Arnold

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