I believe we are a nation with integrity, but integrity does not sustain itself. I believe that the near future could be the brightest chapter in America’s storied history, unlocking the types of policies and actions that previous generations thought were just rainbows and unicorns – dreams, visions, fantasies, but never quite possible in our reality. But as we chase those rainbows and domesticate the unicorns, there will always be a hazardous path of fire and brimstone along the way that we must be wary of, lest we buckle under our own feigned magnanimity.
That you have the privilege, right, and obligation to vote in this country does not grant you the moral authority to do so in prideful ignorance. There is rightful scorn for those who do not exercise their civic duty to cast their ballot in elections, because it truly is such a precious responsibility that mustn’t be taken for granted. But the true villains, the true threats to our delicate little experiment in self-governance, are those who consciously choose and embrace ignorance when they exercise their democratic rights. And should there ever be a requiem for our American democracy, their ignorance will be the gravelly breath stoking the organ’s final notes.
Still undecided? Please vote for Joe Biden. It might seem like it, but I’m not trying to get political – I’m just trying to kindle a stranded, struggling ember of humanity in our democracy.
The Trump Administration truly is a bottomless pit of disappointment. This week, they have begun requiring all food boxes distributed by the USDA to include a message essentially giving his administration credit, signed by Trump himself.
Silence is the enemy of progress. But hate is also an enemy, and in our modern era of prolific social media, the hateful voices are amplified like never before. People see something that has been posted online and assume that simply because it exists publicly, that somehow gives it a degree of credibility.
The look of joy on his face when he runs through a sprinkler in the middle of a hot summer day. The feeling of pride at his middle school chorus concert. Late nights helping with homework. A warm hug in the aftermath of that first teenage breakup. The awe that he has finally graduated high school, and wait, how did that happen so quickly? College too! Watching him find true love and making a grandparent of you. These are a few experiences that the parents of a California boy won’t ever have.
When you look at the imagery associated with the people who boast most vociferously about their God-fearing patriotism, there are a couple motifs that you might notice: Support for the troops; remembering 9/11; flags (really any flags, quite ironically including Confederate flags); eagles; pickup trucks; and a generally brazen attitude about how the consequences of our actions and policies don’t really matter as long as AMERICA! In other words, for these “patriots”, patriotism means blind loyalty – blind loyalty to some version of America that doesn’t really exist.
As the death count from the novel coronavirus tolls ever higher in the United States week by week, in stunning and devastating contrast, America’s theme parks are re-opening across the country, confirming a nuance of American culture that is literally sickening: our need for entertainment. And perhaps that’s one of the major ways in which we went wrong in our response – there wasn’t enough of that wow-factor.
The brutal and unrepentant murder of George Floyd, almost immediately following the murders of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, have once again reminded us that being Black in America is a crime. Note that I say “reminded” because I am a white person afforded the luxury of forgetting this when there aren’t protesters actively marching down my street; but for the 44 million Black people in this country, I imagine that this is never something that is forgotten. Since drafting this original post just several weeks ago, I can add Rayshard Brooks to the list also – perhaps he was guilty of a misdemeanor, but that somehow led to his execution.
One of the driving forces behind the racial crisis that we are witnessing in this country is inequity, an imbalance in the distribution of resources to which different demographics have access. Any solutions-oriented dialogue, therefore, must seek to address this inequity. But a sticking point for many when these conversations happen is the concept of white privilege. To be clear, white privilege is a symptom of inequity – it would be great if it didn’t exist because that would reflect an equitable society, and we should work towards that reality, but the treatment must be systems-wide; it requires dealing with the symptoms while targeting the virus of inequity.