Thursday, February 11, 2010

Outsourcing An American Monument

I was astonished to learn that the powers-that-be in Washington would permit the outsourcing of the construction of a major U.S. monument, the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, to China. The 'solid reality' that any symbol of American freedom would not be built by American hands using domestic know-how and materials (jobs anyone?) in favor of the Chinese deserves consideration. This three part, 30 foot tall sculpture—whose size incidentally dwarfs the Jefferson and Lincoln statues (no symbolism there)—depicts a totalitarian looking, arms-crossed-in-judgment, Chairman Mao style leader (interestingly called ‘Stone of Hope’). On either side, flanking this larger-than-life replica, are two edifices aptly called ‘Mountain of Despair.’ However, King’s closed body language is diametrically opposed to his iconic message of openness and acceptance. Somehow I doubt these important nuances will be given any weight when the powers-that-be get around to ordering tributes for future American notables. Yet, one thing is certain. We know the Chinese will be willing to build them. After all, they’ve done it before—and we owe them a debt.

'From dream to very solid reality,' Michael E. Ruane, Metro section, Washington Post

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