In his piece titled “Maybe it’s time to admit that the Statue of Liberty has never quite measured up,” the art and architecture critic wrote:
Try looking for Lady Liberty at an exhibition of Chicano graphic art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, for example, where familiar images — flags, maps, military recruiting posters — are repurposed. You will find the statue almost or entirely absent. Maybe that’s because, compared with other icons of national identity, it is ambiguous and ambivalent. As familiar to some Americans as the flag, the statue is just as meaningless or foreign to others, a sign without significance, or worse, a symbol of hypocrisy or unfulfilled promises.
According to the National Park Service, “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” was a gift from the French people to the United States and is “recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.”
It was dedicated October 28, 1886, and designated as a National Monument in 1924.
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However, Kennicott claimed, “Indeed, if the statue has had any kind of stable meaning over its lifetime, it is not as a symbol of liberty, but as a symbol of the misuse of liberty — as a hollow promise, unequally distributed and limited in its application to certain groups.”
Several Twitter users criticized Kennicott, one person writing, “Goodness me Philip… to echo Bill Maher, the Statue of Liberty isn’t a Republican… it’s a statue! There must be better things to write about?”
“Western freedom is still the best freedom in the world. Your silly piece is proof of that,” another user commented.
Meanwhile, the New York Times is facing backlash for politicizing the American flag by suggesting “flying the American flag from the back of a pickup truck or over a lawn is increasingly seen as a clue… to a person’s political affiliation,” Breitbart News reported.