I hoped for better in my lifetime than a regression to the "days of yore." But really, that time is not what most romanticize it for, it's a dangerous, dark and deadly door.
Now, here we are, in the future with a penchant for a past that doesn't exist, except in the minds of creative and deceptive revisionists.
The same who want to tell me that a protest isn't right, that that is not how Americans fight. I'm sorry, I'm sure I didn't hear you right.
This America, founded as the home of the free and land of the brave, made up of people running who, we’re told, didn’t want to be religious slaves. The ones who decided the rule and dare I say, oppression, of a king wasn't really their thing.
This America, taken from the hands of those who owned the lands through deceit and forced migrations, and stipulations that the indigenous are still paying for. You won’t even look at the receipt. Reservations set at a table at which no one should have to eat. The sky was the border until you brought disorder, and now they die bound on set lands.
Heritage and pride, ancestry and thriving lives, in your eyes, reduced to mascots.
This America, where we fight for a corporate logo instead of the people it purports to represent. How terribly indecent, how far our descent into insensitivity. And yet you say to just get over it.
This America, built on the backs of the blacks, forced from homes and brought here through abhorrent means. The families and lives destroyed, the pain of their humanity, traded as they were demeaned to be property.
Demons. Sexually immoral. Lazy. In need of a leader. Too feeble. Weak. ⅗ of a man. Childlike. Unable to speak up for themselves. To be coddled because they are ignorant. And still we pay the bill for these thoughts.
Like the native peoples, referred to as savages. Yet those who did these terrible things flipped through passages of a Bible that says "whosoever will" will be free indeed. Using the name of Jesus to enact the most horrible deeds.
This America, where a messaging strategy brought a thing created called Manifest Destiny, that is revered as the will of God. But it was an excuse used to confuse, to lay claim to what wasn’t yours- and as we still love to do, we came in kicking down doors, taking what’s not ours.
And now, you’re sour. Your greatest fear is that another group will come here and do what you did. You close your borders to those just like you and become hoarders of this so-called liberty that was once extended, but now is to be defended through hatred.
This America, where the poor are the problem. Where we laugh at the uneducated as we take their books and close their schools. We point at them on TV and refer to them as fools. We claim to be pro-life but let families starve with no regard for their hardship. We regale stories of grandads working hard, forgetting the subsidies that helped them to charge forward.
Programs of government were OK back in the day when the benefit went only to you. But now we talk about “hand outs” and “free stuff” as if no one has the guts to put in a full day’s work. You say, “If only the poor weren’t so lazy,” yet that’s obviously crazy when they’re balancing a job or two, and still can’t do what’s basic.
“Get an education!” But it’s hard to get one when charters are the new destination for segregation keeping the “separate but equal” lie alive. Here take this loan but don’t bemoan the 200% interest at which you must pay it back. And here they are, the educated and poor, living in lack.
Or what of those who work trades? Whose work was sent away, in the name of corporate greed, but we like to call by it’s acceptable name, profitability. We blame technology for the end of skilled labor but don’t talk about overseas sweatshops filled with penny-a-day wagers.
We blame the poor, on whom we shut the door and give low ceilings and slap them in the face when they come appealing for more. We take their chances for greatness in the name of morality and tell them to bootstrap their reality and that it will all be OK.
This America, where we like abstractions of the truth and distractions from the proof our own guilt. This truly wonderful place built with slave labor, poor families, immigrants and the indigenous so that our own tycoons could get rich. Then even richer and sell us a picture of what could be, if it weren’t for the “other guy” standing next to me; creating a dichotomy of us versus them, where we fight, only for the ones with no skin in, to win.
This America, where coded language is used to assuage guilt and incite hate. Turning brother against brother, each of us against one another, but we’re to believe in the beneficence of an oppressor, that has been the distressor since our story began.
Blame me, tell me I’m the problem. Yet I was born to solve them, to dismantle systems of destruction. Tell me, I’m the one who’s sedated, lulled to sleep by the lies of the “liberal media.” Who is always to blame when they shine light on the games you play. The check to your unbalance, only true when they agree with you. But the same media, guilty of being your tool to spread lies that defy the humanity of the “minority.”
And now, you’ll say I’m un-American and shame me for reading through history and revealing the artistry of your well-crafted lies. You tell me to, “Shut up!” because you despise the tune of my song. You say that I’m complaining, but, in truth, I love my home. Tears at “Oh say can you see?” But for me, I can see. I know my freedom isn’t free. Far too many paid a hefty price for me. No, not ungrateful; tired. Too much blood watering seeds sown in the hopes of a better future.
Better. My grandmother worked hard for better. My mother integrated schools for better. My sister and I live to bring better. Yet today, you’ve shown me that in this America, swallowing a bitter pill of recognition and repentance is not an option.
You're bitter that the “old ways” aren’t good enough. Bitter, that you cannot say and do what generations taught you was cool. Bitter because things got better for more than just you.
You're bitter that you’re not better than all the rest. Bitter that your lies must be laid to rest. Bitter that we won’t rest until better has come through. Better will be better for you, too.
Now come on, we’ve all got work to do.
For a while it may be bittersweet, but the fight will only be complete when you dismantle the inferior systems of supremacy. Or you can choose to stay bitter. But that’s not the route for me. I am moving on to better, because I refuse to accept defeat.
© 2016 Aisha Nichole Willis