Where Have We Gone?

I’m honestly reeling from the amount of news that has come out just this week and am thus having a hard time articulating my thoughts.

What has this country become?

I was raised very patriotic. I believed in America, in the ideals and practices that I had been told it was founded on. Freedom. Open Arms. Understanding. Diversity.

This is not my America. This is a nation built on Fear.

We as a people are afraid of our political leaders. The people who are supposed to drive and direct this country are more concerned with padding their own bank accounts than protecting our rights. They are more concerned with dogmatic prejudices and feeding Fears of homosexuality or Islam or foreigners than building an environment where less innocent citizens are murdered in cold blood. They build SUCCESSFUL platforms on hate and ignorance and “Okay, I’m a criminal but I’m not that much of a criminal.” They seek to divide us to make themselves stronger.

Citizens in this country are afraid of the people who are supposed to serve and protect. The people who should be lining up to defend American lives are instead deciding to end them out of convenience or systemic oppression or their own Fears. Our shield from violence, our protectors from injustice are themselves bleeding into the unjust. Routine procedures becoming fatal, simple infractions resulting in executions.

Families growing and existing in a bubble of Fear. Mothers and fathers afraid of what they are sending they’re children out into the world to face. Because they are Black. Because they are Muslim. Because they are homosexual or transgendered or an immigrant or disabled or Republican or Democrat or or or or or or or… So many sources of distress, so much violence because of how we look or what we believe or who we love, and no concern for what we are. What we say. What we’ve done. What we can achieve. A world so consumed by violent terror, that our potential for greatness, to succeed and be amazing, is overshadowed.

A country locked in a state of unknowing by a Media establishment bent on ratings and money and ad revenue and celebrities. News filtered through a lens of the sensational, and not the guided and factual. Citizens kept smoldering in Fear by the puff puffing bellows of television, radio, internet correspondence.

People. Simple people. Normal people. People with wants and needs. People who just want a calm, happy life. These people are afraid to go out of the house. To go to a club. To go to school. To drive in their car or see a movie or go shopping. Our country, that once long, long ago resonated with the dynamic symphony of liberty from oppression now sits engulfed in a monotonous, guttural hum of dread.

It’s up to us to pierce through that hum. We need to strike up the orchestra.

Amidst all of this, I am sorry. To my Black friends, people I’ve grown with, I’ve shared significant parts of my life with, I am so sorry what is happening right now. This news is extremely terrible and shocking and so very hard to put words to. Know I am with you, always. Black Lives do truly matter, and this country needs to be more aware of this. To you all and so many more – to my LGBTQ friends, to my Muslim friends, to my Police friends, to all my brothers and sisters in this country. To all my fellow Americans. I am sorry.

I was consumed by my own Fear. I was silent for much too long.

But I can’t do this anymore. I have to speak. I just wish I knew what more I could say.

We have to beat the Fear, and we do that by joining together. Now, I am a firm believer that everyone is allowed to react in their own way. It’s crude to demand a certain quality of response. However, we need to ask for response. We need to extend hands to those left in the dark, share with them the facts, address their individual concerns or opinions. If someone wants to choose to stay quiet, to find their own individual peace in silence, then we need to accept their choice. If we want change, we need to defeat the Fear, we can’t add to it. Violence cannot be met by violence and aggression must be met with peace. With love.

We have to be better than our Fears. We have to rise up and say “I am strong because we are strong. It is unity that makes us more powerful than a system built on fear.” We have to do this together, as many of us as we can muster, all of us if possible. Families. Friends. Black, White, Muslim, Christian. Regardless of color, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, gender. Neighbors. Citizens. Americans.

United.

~C

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