Who Are We, America?

Who are we, America?

Are we as beautiful as we claim to be or some ugly, wretched, monstrous else?

Are we the embodiment of our promises of liberty inscribed on our statue? The safe haven for the tired, poor, huddled masses, wretched refuse, homeless and tempest-tost or not?

Who are we, America?

Who are we?

Are we the words of our Declaration? The truths we hold self-evident?

Are we the bill of our rights? The First Amendment? The Second? The whole decalot?

Are we the ones who have given up trying to remedy an unpaid debt of a bitter land theft, an intrusion that hasn’t been adequately acknowledged, a nation built on land that isn’t ours, or are we ones who know the value of water and are willing to stand with those at Standing Rock?

Are we a nation of immigrants as we have fashioned ourselves — hardworking, loyal, dreamers? Are we our language malleably encompassing new words from our collective homelands or the shrill stifling screams that, “we speak english here?”

Are we the crying clinging refugee child who crossed the desert and was ripped from the arms of her migrant mother and caged or the armed sentry watching at the foretold wall?

We can’t be all things or we will be nothing.

We have to choose.

Are we the ones lost on all sides to wars for oil and land and power or the far away men in smart business suits who condemn them to die, always to die for other people’s comfort and security?

Are WE ALL CAPS on Twitter, shouting in one another’s faces behind mirrored screens, the bigotry, racism, and hatred that has seeped out from behind our shiny, polished, idyllic facade, or are we a poem? Are we a song?

Are we the peaceful man bird watching in Central Park or the woman eager to use her privilege to endanger him?

Are we the factory workers who assemble our cars, the farm workers who feed us, the teachers who care for our children, or the nurses and doctors who tend to our ill, or the billionaire tax evaders dancing through loopholes in ivory towers in well heeled shoes?

Who are we, America?

What are we?

Are we the blood and tears of the enslaved?

Are we the toil and sweat of sharecroppers?

Or are we the ones who feast on the spoils of other’s labor? Is that who we are?

Are we the crack of the whip, the tension in a rope, the unfeeling indulgence in the dark?

Are we the gawking crowds gathered around in amusement to peer and leer at strange fruit or, are we the Freedom Riders?

Are we in agreement to let one another worship in peace or do we intrude with guns and bullets flying on synagogues, mosques, baptists churches, and others houses of prayer?

Are we the ones who will safekeep the legacy of George Floyd who cried out for his mother and burn a torch for the Native women missing, murdered and lost, or the ones who look away, again, and again, and again?

Do we love our guns more than we love our children, is that why we look away?

Who are we America?

We get to decide.

We have to know and say.

Are we the descendants of marching women demanding that their voices be heard or those who battered iron fists insisting them on the basis of sex incompetent to do so and have structured a country that still hasn’t elected a woman President?

Are we a quilt made up of poll-watchers who commit themselves year after year to protecting other people’s freedoms or the fray at edges unraveling our democracy one exclusionary voter id law at a time?

Are we the determined who went back time and again, who never missed an election, after being denied the right to vote with literacy tests and poll quizzes or the grimacing ones insisting on an answer to the amount of bubbles in a bar of soap?

Did we throw that fateful brick at Stonewall or are we the policeman’s oppressive baton?

Are we the families who unquestionably rescue and return from the brink of self inflicted death other people’s children who’ve been turned from their homes and lives because of who they are or the ones callously condemning them to hell?

Are we the ones who let love be love be love be love be love or the ones challenging the birthright of children born to happy, stable families, even if they look different than ours?

Are we who we admire? Who do we exalt the most?

The men our buildings are named after?

The ones we have erected statues to or the ones who topple them?

Those who endured all of this history and never lived to see recompense or those who required the endurance of others by insatiable bloody force?

Who are we, America?

Are we our ever expanding democracy, pushing itself to its edges, growing always more inclusive or the gatekeepers — strict constructionists constricting it tightly, tightly until we can’t breath?

Who are we America.

We must decide.

We decide.

*note: America in the broader sense encompasses all of North and South America. I use America here narrowly to mean the United States of America.

Written by

I write stuff. Published in Human Parts, Zora, AnInjustice!, AOA. #BLM http://www.Instagram.com/BridgetteWrites https://www.facebook.com/BridgetteHWrites

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