My America

Young man at George Floyd funeral procession in Los Angeles. Photo by Jesse Luna.
Young man at George Floyd funeral procession in Los Angeles. Photo by Jesse Luna.

My America believes in equality. It strives to bring people together, united in a common vision, not one of division.

The basis of this vision is baked into parts of the U. S. Constitution but that same document also calls Black men less than human and was written by men who denied millions of men, women and children and future generations the right to freedom.

That is the tragic flaw of our country and one we have been struggling to correct for almost 250 years. And when I write “struggling” that means that there are those who were and are perfectly fine with things the way were in the past.

This morning I was thinking about a speech Michelle Obama gave as she was stumping for Barack in his first Presidential election. She was vehemently attacked by the right and according to her book, she was advised by her own team to cut that message out of future speeches.

Michelle’s speech included, “For the first time in my adult lifetime I’m really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well but because I think people are hungry for change.”

When I heard that comment I thought, “Wow, she is actually speaking her truth.” I wasn’t surprised that she was attacked for her comments because she was revealing how she truly felt and it was contrary to the one-sided story that we’ve all been programed to tell about America’s exceptionalism.

Some years earlier, her husband gave “a pretty good speech” at the Democratic National Convention where he said that there was only one America and that one day we will reclaim its promise.

I see those two speeches as different sides of the same coin. We can define America as what it can be or we can define it by all the ways in how it has failed so many who have been hopeful for change.

So, am I proud of my country?

I am very proud of how millions of people of all nationalities, socio-economic backgrounds and geographic locations who have stepped up to challenge this country’s fatal white supremacist flaw and how they are contributing to the dismantling of those toxic ideals.

I see the fa├žade crumbling and I love that.

These patriots are pushing government from the outside and from the inside to make true changes so that when we ask, “Who’s America?” we can answer “OUR America.”

I’m talking about those who are honoring George Floyd and pushing to restructure the way we police our cities, those who are challenging racist effigies, and those marching to reclaim our public places so that we can all walk, run or birdwatch without the fear of being detained or killed for no reason.

Black Lives Matter.