The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Popular phrases don't equal policy


August 9, 2017

The James A. Farley Post Office in New York City was opened in 1914 and has the inscription, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

Contrary to what many of us have believed since childhood, this is not the motto of the U.S. Postal Service. The sentence comes from the Greek historian Herodotus and celebrates a system of mounted postal messengers created by the Persians. U.S. Postal policy is not based on this inscription.

The cornerstone for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty was laid at Bedloe’s Island on Aug. 5, 1884, and the statue was dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886. The classic line from the Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” was added on a brass tablet in 1903. Bedloe’s Island later became Liberty Island.

CNN reporter Jim Acosta appears to believe that inscriptions on various monuments have the force of law or at least the basis for policy. He is displaying naiveté at best and misperception at worst when he tells White House aide Stephen Miller that, "What you're proposing and what the president is proposing does not sound like it's in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration."

On a “Seinfeld” episode, first broadcast in January of 1993, Jerry parodies:

“I am for open immigration, but that sign we have on the front of the Statue of Liberty, do we have to specify the wretched refuse? I mean, why don`t we just say, 'Give us the unhappy, the sad, the slow, the ugly, people that can`t drive, that they have trouble merging, if they can`t stay in their lane, if they don`t signal, they can`t parallel park, if they`re sneezing, if they`re stuffed up, if they`re clogged, if they have bad penmanship, don`t return calls, if they have dandruff, food between their teeth, if they have bad credit, if they have no credit, missed a spot shaving, in other words any dysfunctional defective slob that you can somehow cattle prod onto a wagon, send them over, we want `em.'”

Malcom Muggeridge, a British journalist, and satirist once observed, “We live in an age in which it is no longer possible to be funny. There is nothing you can imagine, no matter how ludicrous, that will not promptly be enacted before your very eyes, probably by someone well known.”

Don’t believe him? Look at the Seinfeld and Acosta statements.

Rube Render is the Curry County Republican chairman. Contact him at: [email protected]


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