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20 August 2008

Division Bell

It is a symbol of independence and an icon of liberty and justice. This object now called the Liberty Bell was known as the Independence Bell or the Old Yankee's Bell until 1837. It became known as the Liberty Bell after it was adopted as the symbol for the abolitionist organization, the American Anti-Slavery Society. The Liberty Bell carries many different meanings and there are quite a few myths about how and why the crack in the Bell occurred. For me the crack in the Bell symbolizes the division of our society and the bigotry that persists despite all the glorious rhetoric to the contrary. The inscription on the Bell is taken from the biblical book of Leviticus 25.10 and reads "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof." The very symbol of liberty for all inhabitants of the United States of America was cast, hung, and then cracked during a time of Slavery in America. It is a curious, yet telling hypocrisy that this Bell represents. Great progress has been made toward the liberty proclaimed on this icon of American freedom, but at the enormous price of the blood of true patriots who died by the assassin's bullet. There was no liberty for those human beings hanged until dead because of the color of their skin. There was no liberty for the women who lived and died never being able to fully participate in this great country because they were denied the vote on the basis of their gender. There is still no liberty for people of the same sex who love each other and want only to live their lives with dignity and respect. It is only the liberty promised by this symbol that I am seeking for myself as a woman, for my husband as a Black man, my children and all people. For me the Bell is cracked because this society is flawed. Liberty should not be granted by laws, but recognized as the inherent and natural state of all persons.

Freedom is more than a word, it is a way of life. Think free. Live free.


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