There was a time when the United States of America was intent on building bridges - literally - with our international partners, to unite and accelerate our collective economies and cultures. The International Gateway Bridge, an example of the divide-spanning region-building drive, spanned the Rio Grande between the cities of Brownsville, Texas and Matamaros, Mexico. Opening to tourism and trade at the height of the roaring twenties, it underscores the power and promise of the bold connections that made America great in the first place -- and the insecurities of a retreat behind our walls.
Another instant classic rallying cry that promises to outdistance the election cycle from which it was born - and continue in the defense of our fundamental -- and increasingly threatened -- civil rights. But take heart: love, as always, trumps hate.
The most insidious element of the new political order -- the so-called "alt-right" -- needs no introduction. Just deletion, and we can get on with resetting our discourse to higher grounds.
The Arabic phrase - بارك الله امريكا - or "bark allah 'amrika" - translates literally to "God bless America," a song and sentiment unrestrained by notions of ethnicity, creed, or culture. Though in recency it has edged into a rallying cry of the right, if ever there was a time to reclaim its universal appeal to a power even higher than the governments of men, it is now.
Irving Berlin famously changed his original lyrics to "God Bless America" calling on God to guide America "to the right" to avoid any confusion with the political right -- asking instead for aid "through the night." And though that night may be upon us, the star and crescent embody the proverbial "light from above," as well as the union of Islam and traditional American patriotism, beyond any parochial notion of either, and a call to solidarity: as Americans, we can and must do better.
Columbia, the Goddess of America. There was a time when the personification of the United States was fearless and female, and with all due respect to Uncle Sam, it's time to rally behind her once more -- for when America's foes are domestic, then those who have worn the yoke of domestication must lead the fight.
Liberty-Equailty-Sorority: the tripartite motto evokes not only the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen drafted by proto-feminist Olympe de Gouges during the French Revolution, but also the origins of feminist thought in the United States. Taking cues from de Gouges, Elizabeth Cady Stanton's Declaration of Sentiments - born of the famous Seneca Falls Convention and transcribed by Frederick Douglass - gave voice to the movement that persists today.
The timeless words are inset as a backdrop to Columbia's unyielding charge for liberty, sword and banner in hand. So take fast the folds of her skirt. For there are no tears into the fabric of a society more poignant and powerful than those that arise from a rallying cry.