Reach For the Moon With a Plan

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I no doubt have too much time on my hands to really think about the state of the  world, particularly the state of my nation. We are quite troubled these days, not just with Covid-19 but with the issues that have surfaced and bubbled over after the horrific death of George Floyd. In the annals of history this will no doubt be a defining moment along with Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Perhaps because of, rather than in spite of the pandemic a cry of historic pain has risen from our Black Americans from sea to shining sea. Like Rosa Parks they are too tired to simply move to the back of the bus one more time, but unlike with Rosa Parks there does not appear to be a carefully crafted plan associated with the protests. As a result the reactions and the demands are fueled by pure emotion that is so all over the place that I fear that the things that need to be done will be pushed aside by minuscule victories like making Juneteenth a national holiday or rebranding Aunt Jemima products.

I am not Black and cannot even pretend to fathom the racism and associated injustices that they continue to endure. I can only empathize with my Black friends and neighbors and former students and interpret what they are telling us needs to happen. In my thinking the biggest issues should be restructuring and perhaps redefining the criminal justice system, strengthening the educational system for minorities, ensuring that quality healthcare is available to all, and making the effort to really hear and understand the voices and the needs of our Black citizens.

Sadly I sense that because there is little coherent national leadership in the Black Lives Matter movement the organic movement is all over the map concerning with regard to what is most important to accomplish. The deeds of those who loot and destroy do little for the cause as well. While I understand the depth of frustration and anger that leads to such behavior, the actions tend to divert attention from the true needs and place the entire movement in a negative light with those who are looking for a rationale for ignoring them or even shutting them down. There was a reason that Dr. King and the leaders of the civil rights movement of the fifties and sixties insisted on nonviolent, passive resistance. They knew that they needed to win the hearts and minds of enough of a majority to bring about concrete and meaningful change. Those who lead this most important movement must do their best to disassociate themselves from theft and vandalism because even though such happenings are not representative they are being used to justify ignoring the real issues. 

What began as a move to rid our country of Confederate flags and monuments to leaders of the Confederacy has unraveled as well. Now almost any American historical figure is fair game. When things go too far, as they are doing in some cases, people lose patience with the cause. Burning the flag and spitting on soldiers returning from Vietnam did little to help the anti-war movement of the 1960s. It only gave ammunition to those who were already unwilling to consider the earnest perspectives of young people who wanted the unpopular war to stop. So too it is with BLM. Someone in charge needs to put out the word that it is best to keep the focus on the systemic changes rather than to get carried away with taking down inanimate objects. Already President Trump is giddily using such things to turn a segment of the American population against the BLM movement and to shore up his own chances for reelection. A wise group would not provide him with the ammunition to do so. Ignoring him quietly and totally would be a far more powerful tactic. The focus has to return to the kinds of changes that are most important and only strategic planning and leadership will accomplish what must be done. There is the very real threat that the president will rally enough support to dash the hopes of the entire Black Lives Matter movement just at the moment when their is worldwide support for the cause.

At the beginning of all of this one of my Black former students messaged me and said that he needed some of my understanding and gift for calming him because he was so very angry. I do indeed believe that our Black citizens have many reasons for being extremely mad. It is so apparent that their cause is being distorted by those who would rather not have to think about  the issues that have risen once again. It is truly tough to be honest enough to see that many of our nation’s ideals are tarnished by the history of slavery and racism. Too often we have tamped down the injustice toward Black in America with minimal stop gap changes and then hoped that the unrest would vanish. In many ways this time feels quite different and I believe that it can be if there is a real plan for making the much needed changes without upending even those aspects of our history that are in fact good. It is important for all Americans to think of how it feels to be viewed through a narrow lens. If nothing else we need to remember what it felt like to be punished by a teacher too lazy to differentiate between recalcitrant students and those who were attempting to do the right thing.

I sincerely suggest that the Black Lives Matter movement enlist the help of leaders, lawmakers, educators, doctors, ministers, students and ordinary citizens to become the voices of the change they wish to see in our country. They need to develop a plan and seek support from everyone in maintaining focus on what is most important. I fear that without such guidelines the forces against them will run as rampant as Covid-19 and they will lose the momentum that has garnered so many new insights in people who heretofore did not understand. Our Black citizens all too often must endure treatment that none of the rest of us would find acceptable only because of the color of their skin. I pray that this is indeed the moment when meaningful and long overdue change will occur but I also fear that without coherence and leadership it will only end in the reelection of a man who has no compassion for the cause and a citizenry that forces us to just go back to what they see as normal. Our Black citizens should reach for the moon this time, but remember that they must first begin with a plan.

This Is What Keeps Me Awake At Night

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In the beginning we were mostly very nice to one another. We came together not just as a nation, but as a worldwide community. We worried as much for the people of Italy as we did for ourselves. We applauded our healthcare workers at the end of their daily shifts. We found ways to do good things for people that we didn’t even know. We followed the rules and the precautions for staving off the virus with great care. We marveled at the flights of the Blue Angels as they flew over our city to thank those on the front lines of the battle with Covid-19. We grieved over every death and felt great compassion for those who became ill. We were willing to extend financial help for those who lost their jobs. Our sense of empathy was great and it felt good to be part of a human community that was so loving and caring.

Then some of us began to lose patience. The Lieutenant Governor of Texas suggested that we needed to go back to normal quickly. He blithely announced that he and other older Americans would be willing to die to help the young to reclaim their lives. The President of the United States appeared to grow weary of the daily briefings on the virus and the lack of a miracle disappearance of Covid-19 as he had so hopefully predicted. Armed groups asserted their right to freedoms including not being forced to wear masks in public. States began to reopen even as they ignored the guidelines of health professionals for doing so. Life seemingly resumed and then a Black man attempted to spend a twenty dollar bill that looked suspicious. The police were called and before an hour had passed that man lay dead as a result of overt brutality. Riots broke out first across the nation and eventually across the world. Our community spirit was finally rent in two.

As I sit in my home I number the days that I have been isolated. It is now well over 100 revolutions of the sun that have kept me inside save for a delightful three day interlude in which I drove around the Texas hill country and sat eight feet away from my daughter and her family for some much needed family connection. I have taught remote classes with my tiny band of students and I have enjoyed Zoom conferences with family and friends. Mostly though I have had to find ways to make my days meaningful as I do my best to help in the effort to eliminate the virus as much as possible.

At first I marveled at the kindness of humans but of late I have been deeply saddened by the selfishness and lack of compassion that I witness. I wonder why those who have pensions and savings and jobs that provide them with financial security have so little concern for those who are unemployed. Why are they not urging our president and Congress to continue to provide the jobless with the help they so desperately need during this time? Why does anyone think that it is a good idea to simply abandon thirteen percent of the American people who want to work but can’t find employment no matter how hard they try?

Our Black and Hispanic citizens are literally bearing the brunt of Covid-19. They are getting sick and dying in numbers far greater than the white population. So why would so many among us not even attempt to understand the frustrations that they are feeling? Does this really seem to be a time for accusing them of being responsible for the rise in cases of the virus when we know that people went to crowded bars and beaches? Does it make sense to smear the attempts of our Black citizens to demonstrate their frustrations and only see the small number of dissidents who have made the cause sometimes violent? Should all of those peacefully gathering for justice be viewed as a group of thugs? What is the reasoning for favoring hunks of metal or stone fashioned into icons glorifying people who fought to keep the ancestors of our Black neighbors enslaved over living breathing humans who are in great pain? Does this actually seem like a time to threaten dreamers with a reattempt at ridding our country of DACA so that they might once and for all be deported? What kind of people would celebrate a threat to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the middle of a pandemic? How has our society become so cruel that a wealthy old white man rides in his golf cart shouting “White Power” and our president applauds him? How can we continue to ignore our elderly who are virtual prisoners in their rooms in nursing homes because some of us refuse to do what is needed to end the rise of Covid-19 cases? What are we doing to help the mentally ill and addicted who have had an interruption of their therapies? These are the things that sadden me.

I honestly care little about myself. My days on this earth have not always been easy, but mostly they have been good. I am happy with my life and the people who have shared it with me. I have been most fortunate. I worry most about those who are truly suffering and feeling so alone. I grieve that my country is lost in a morass of ugliness and selfishness and unwillingness to spread both the wealth and the sacrifice in such a dire time. I see such difficult weeks ahead for our young whose lives are so upended and so uncertain. Their educations and their hopes and dreams and plans are on hold. Nothing is as it once was save for the lucky ones who have the gift of health and economic security that allows them to carry on as though the pandemic is little more than an inconvenient hoax created by forces that want to frighten us. For so many this moment is all too real, and it is for them that I worry. It is about them that I write. It is impossible for me to ignore them as though they do not matter.

I am weary because I feel as though I am shouting into the wind. I do not think that I have changed a single mind with the essays that I hoped would enlighten people to at least think a bit differently than usual. I see the divisiveness of beliefs growing harder and more immovable than ever before and that frightens me more than the possibility of becoming sick. Perhaps this moment in time is only the beginning of a series of events that will ultimately change the world. It may be that we will all have to endure much hardship to reach the other side. This is what keeps me awake at night because I do not believe that it had to be this way.

A Nation of Many Nations

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Ours is an enormous country. Little wonder that it is often so difficult to hold all of the disparate regions and states together. We call ourselves the United States but in reality there has always been division based on geography, economics, demographics and other aspects of sociology and psychology. Even those who share common beliefs often have different interpretations of how to reach particular goals or create shared laws. Within a single state there will be cities and towns and neighborhoods with wildly varying political philosophies. We used to call ourselves a melting pot of diversity all blended together, but if truth be told there have always been lumps in that mixture that asked us to accept a single set of views. We’ve almost always known that there were exceptions to virtually every rule that we made. It’s rather difficult to be a country that purports to be a bastion of individualism while also insisting that we march in lockstep to certain tunes. Perhaps the very nature of our nation is to attract people who do not wish to be ruled by the whims of whoever happens to be in charge at any given moment.

Our land was stumbled upon by explorers who saw opportunity in its vast open spaces. They presumed that it was theirs for the taking because the original inhabitants did not appear to be as advanced as they were. Of course we can see in retrospect that it was faulty thinking to assume that nothing actually belonged to anyone person or group when there were no contracts or written compacts. Those original settlers were indeed the invaders even though we do not like to use that kind of language when speaking of them. Thus came hordes of people seeking relief from religious persecution, economic hardship, troubles with the law, the hopelessness of being second or third sons without the chance of inheritance, those with entrepreneurial spirit.  Here they saw a way to leave their troubles behind and live without the limitations placed on them in the old world. Over time they and their descendants reached all the way across the country from Atlantic to Pacific Ocean sometimes moving the original inhabitants who stood in their way.

Mistakes were made all the way around. Someone thought it was a good idea to use slave labor to work the fertile land. That was an abominable decision that was often cloaked in uncomfortable attempts to argue that the people forcefully brought from their homelands were actually better off than they would have otherwise been. There were presumptions that they were uncivilized and perhaps even too ignorant to even have the same feelings as the people who bought them and kept them as property by means of brute force. Even back at the beginning there were people who understood that such rationalizations were false and flew in the face of logic and Christian beliefs. Queen Isabella herself told Christopher Columbus that slavery was sinful when he offered to bring her a shipload of native people from the Indies as free labor. That was in the fifteenth century and yet people looked away when slavery became so ensconced in the economy that it was overlooked until the nineteenth century and the country that was barely one hundred years old broke out in civil war.

After the slaves were freed and the warring ended the country was wounded, broken, divided but the people did their best to patch things up. The freedom that the former slaves had gained  was only partially honored in some places. There were still those who viewed them as lesser beings. They were more often than not segregated from the rest of society, subjugated by laws that prohibited their freedoms and their rights. At the same time the country was growing. The Industrial Revolution created a need for more workers and so word was sent across Europe that America was the place to be. A flood of immigrants game from Germany, Sweden, Austria Hungary, Britain, Ireland, and Italy, a new wave of people who had lost hope of having a chance to prosper in their homelands. They sailed across the ocean in steamships with dreams of being free but their early days were often punctuated by hard work in dreary conditions while they were taunted by those who had been here before them.

The United States of America was a sleepy country with a vast expanse until World War I when the Yanks went to Europe to help in the war that was supposed to end all wars. Suddenly the whole world took notice of the ingenuity of the country that many had believed would never make it. The country finally decided to give women the right to vote even though John Adams’ wife Abigail had pleaded with him to fight to include the female half of the country when the ink was still wet on the Constitution signed by him and the other founding fathers. It seemed as though the United States was finally earning the respect it had so often desired.

The USA was now a power player and so a newspaper editor came up with the idea of finding a national anthem for a nation that had heretofore been just fine without one. He hosted a contest in which readers might suggest possibilities and then take a final vote on the candidates. That small group of Americans might have chosen America the Beautiful, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, God Bless America, or My Country Tis of Thee but by a narrow margin The Star Spangled Banner won. When a Congressman heard of the novel idea he sponsored a bill to make The Star Spangled Banner the national anthem. Finally in the 1920’s the United States had an official song to use at gatherings. It would eventually be played at ballgames, high school graduations and all kinds of events but few people actually knew how it had come about and what the words to it actually meant.

It was shortly after World War I and in the 1920’s that racism grew across the globe and at the same time monuments of Confederate generals were erected all across the south. With Jim Crow laws restricting Black citizens more than ever the statues served the twofold purpose of whitewashing the treasonous acts of the men they represented and intimidating Blacks who were still being shut out from full inclusion in the most basic rights of citizens. The Ku Klux Klan was flourishing and fear was once again being used as a weapon to keep Blacks from being fully embraced into society.

World War II and its aftermath brought the United States of America to its highest level of worldwide respect . While the rest of the world was repairing the damage from the battles of the war America was booming. It had the infrastructures and the money to invest in progress,  At the same time, almost a hundred years after being freed Black Americans still had not achieved that same rights as even the most recent immigrants from other countries enjoyed. After a years long struggle and much violence perpetrated against them a civil rights bill was finally passed in a divided Congress with pressure from a democrat President from Texas and the help of republicans from the north and midwest who would probably not recognize either the democrats or republicans of today.

Anyone who is paying attention knows the rest of the story. The immigrants continue to come from Asia and the Middle East and from Mexico and South America. The diversity of our nation has grown and grown and as it has many have become less and less inclined to appreciate or understand how much the new members of our country are just like the people who first came to the shores of this nation at its very beginnings and through the ensuing years with similar hopes and dreams. Our Black citizens continue to struggle from inequities that we too often refuse to see perhaps because admitting how much they have been wronged is a fate too painful to endure. It would mean looking at our history with an honesty that shatters so many of our pretty visions. 

We are once again divided. This time it is between those who would build walls or send children brought here illegally back to places they have never seen and those who believe that we should welcome the people and cultures that seem to enrich our nation. We argue over whether or not Black citizens are being treated unfairly and discuss their protests abstractly as either lawless or peaceful. Some see confederate monuments and place names as history and others view them as an offense to human decency. There are those who would drop the Affordable Care Act in the midst of a pandemic and those who want to end such discussions once and for all with a national health insurance program that assures good health for all. We even quibble over whether or not we should have to wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus that is exerting its power over us. We question whether a national anthem that was selected on a whim is more representative of our country than the freedom of people to use it to shed light on a problem that they believe we all must face. We think that fixing our wounded nation is a matter of this or that, a simple dichotomy of rights and wrongs that pits us against each other.

Perhaps if we all took the time to move beyond the noise and the chatter and to simply concentrate on the issues at hand we might finally find a way to get things right. Perhaps a beginning might be to admit that we are not a melting pot at all and we really should not be. Instead we are a beautiful salad of individuals each of whom add flavor and beauty to the glorious mix. We are a nation built from many nations. If we begin to honor that idea and strive to value each and every person we will all share in the wealth of the ideas set out in our Declaration of Independence. July Fourth will belong to every American when we provide its ideals with compassion and equity.  

Become the Helper

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An oft overlooked aspect of our current times is the psychological destruction that is infecting minds as silently as the coronavirus enters our bodies and makes us sick. There is so much happening all at once and the fact that we cannot seem to agree on much of anything only compounds the difficulties of dealing with the anxieties that are plunging many individuals into a state of distress. Any one of the issues that have come to the fore would have been cause for concern. When all of them are blasting our society at once it is akin to a violent storm, an earthquake and a tornado all happening at the same instant. Little wonder that my friends who are counselors are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by the stories of patients who are struggling to maintain a sense of balance and safety.

At the same time there are those lucky individuals who appear not to have been affected by anything that is happening. They have retained their jobs and their fine incomes. Nobody in their circle has become ill with the virus. They have few interactions with minorities so they do not feel the urgency of the Black Lives Movement or DACA. They do not have an elderly parent, relative or friend in a nursing home whom they are not allowed to visit. They have not seen how a preponderance of bad luck can lead to depression, addiction, despair. The people in their world are happy and eager to get back to vacations and all the rituals of summer. They are blessed and enjoy the bounty of their good fortune.They post images of themselves having a good time as though life is as wonderful and normal as ever. They are generally good people who simply do not know how much suffering the pandemic has created because it seems to have little to do with the worlds in which they live.

In truth there are many layers associated with the mental health issues that are making a difficult time even worse for those who are struggling to maintain a grip on hopefulness. There are people who lost their jobs in early March who are panicking because their searches for work have been fruitless. In the beginning they felt confident that the unemployment help from the government along with assistance from in the form of temporary loan forgiveness would carry them through until they most surely would return to their careers, but as the weeks and months have gone by far too many are still unemployed. They see the patience of the nation dwindling for their cause. They have calculated that they are on the verge of destitution and perhaps even homelessness if nothing changes within the next few weeks. Even though they have always been hard working and reliable they are questioning their own worth. They feel abandoned, alone. They are losing the confidence that was once their trademark.

There are elderly individuals who have been sequestered inside their homes for so long that loneliness has overtaken them. They feel forgotten. Worse yet when even the political leaders who should be encouraging them suggest that they are on their own with regard to staying safe from the virus they worry that they will be confined to a kind of homebound imprisonment for an undetermined time. Because they understand that the number of years they have left on this earth are dwindling with each passing month they worry that their final moments will be lonely and secluded from the joy of human contact.

There are those already burdened by mental illness or addiction. They have had to get their therapies remotely. Somehow the positive effects of talking with a caring professional has not the same under such circumstances. Their days have come to feel bleaker and bleaker and their minds play all of the psychological tricks on them that create the kind of chemical imbalances in their brains that cloud their thinking. At times life seems almost unbearable and sometimes they even act on such thoughts.

The problems of our Black citizens have taken center stage but even as they voice the concerns that have stalked them unrelentingly they see that far too many refuse to listen or understand. They wonder why it is so difficult for people to comprehend what they are trying to say. They relate the stories of their lives with honesty and then are accused of overreacting, expecting too much. They see people wanting to wish them away, hoping to sweep their cause under the rug. They wonder how many more years they will have to pay for the sins of slavery, because it is they who have paid the price of a heinous practice that is somehow defended year after unchanging year.

A toxic political climate fueled by those seeking power has divided us so badly that even friends and relatives who love one another are on edge. They choose up sides and steadfastly retain their own beliefs even when evidence suggests that they may be wrong. In many ways we are all being played and we somehow know it but nonetheless deny that we are affected. It grinds away at our sense of security. We question ourselves and each other. Some among are reduced to abject sorrow.

We have drawn back a curtain that has shown us an ugly side of our natures, an aspect that we had managed to mostly ignore before the stakes became so high. While we are grappling with our personal difficulties and with each other we sense that somehow it did not need to be this way. We might have all been feeling confident that together we would solve all of the problems that face us. Instead it feels as though we are engaged in battles on multiple fronts all alone. It is every human for himself/herself and so the numbers suffering from psychological disorders are growing, leaving a toll that is as distressing as Covid-19 and the battles for equity.

It is time we each took a deep breath and eliminated our tone deaf tendencies. People are dying of broken hearts and minds. We need to step back and assess the damage that has been done to them and then begin the process of working together to set things right. Look around you. Find the suffering and become the helper that they need. 

Dear Sir

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President Donald J. Trump                                                                                                            White House                                                                                                                      Washington D.C.                                                                                                                          United States of America

Dear Sir,

I am an American who loves this country with every fiber of my being even as I realize that it has problems which must be addressed. I am only a few years younger than you are. When we were  children the world was recovering from a terrible world war. Our elders had been heroes fighting in Europe and the Pacific for the very existence of democracy and justice. We grew up hearing of the horrors of autocratic leaders that lead to the murder of millions of innocent souls. What we heard less about was the unfair treatment of citizens in our own country whose ancestors had once been slaves. We were young and lived in a white bubble with our privilege of freedom to go wherever we wanted whenever we wanted. Only now and again did we witness hints of the inequities in our society and so in our minds the America of our youth was a beautiful thing, a safe and lovely world. We did not yet know of the injustices that some of our fellow citizens with darker skin were enduring even as we reveled in our own safety.

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. My father was a college educated man who provided our family with luxuries that I took for granted until he died suddenly when I was only eight years old. I quickly learned what it was like to worry that my family’s most basic needs would be difficult to meet, but even in our greatly reduced economic situation I knew that we were better off than many Americans and so I began to better understand the plight of the poor and suffering.

I was mostly sheltered from the racism that existed nearby me. It was only when we would ride a bus downtown to enjoy a Saturday of shopping for sales in the basement of Foley’s department store that I saw the water fountains and restrooms marked with signs for “whites” and “coloreds.” I found myself wondering why the black people on the bus had to sit away from the rest of us. I knew them only from such brief encounters because they lived in neighborhoods segregated from mine. I only saw them when they came to clean the houses or work in the yards of white friends. Even as a child I felt an element of mystery and injustice in their situation but nobody really spoke of such things with little ones. They must have believed that we were too ignorant to see the evidence of prejudice that was so clear to me.

The first I heard of the civil rights movement was just before my father died. We had gone to visit my grandparents in Arkansas and there was talk of integrating the schools. My father and grandfather would sit on the front porch of the house discussing the pros and cons of the situation while I was shuttled away into the kitchen with my grandmother. I suppose they thought I was too young to hear about such things but I got enough information to begin to question so much about what we were doing to an entire group of people who had long suffered from abuse.

By the time I was in high school the civil rights marches, demonstrations and sit-ins were in full force. I watched the progress with great joy and anticipation even as I heard whispers from adults who were worried that the world as they had known it was about to change for the worst. There were great divisions in our country even as a sense of hopefulness began to spread from sea to shining sea.

In college my friend Claudia and I were active in the continuing civil rights movement. We marched and campaigned and lived in the hope that the stains of slavery and segregation would be eradicated forever. We listen to Mohammed Ali speak on our campus. He was still Cassius Clay back then and he would soon be expressing his right to freedom by refusing to submit to the military draft. It was his way of bringing attention to the inequities that were still holding our nation back from the greatness that had been the set forth in the ideals in our Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation. We were still struggling to achieve a goal that should have been insisted upon as far back as 1776 but was compromised to satisfy those who used slaves for their economic betterment.

I entered the adult world thinking that we had resolved the problems of our Black citizens. I went about living my life and created my own little bubble of satisfaction. The world seemed to be a very happy place for everyone. I welcomed Black children to my neighborhood and I taught them in the schools where I worked. I shared stories with my Black colleagues and entertained them in my home. It was not until a group of my Black students and I prepared for a school sponsored civil rights tour of the south that I began to hear of the inequities and fears that continued to stalk even the most highly educated and economically secure Black people that I know. In transparent conference after conference they related their experiences and I knew then that we had left so much work undone.

So here we are now in a state of unrest in the midst of a pandemic as people not just in the United States but across the globe insist that somehow we must begin the dialogue and the processes of eliminating racism that is still inherent within our systems. We know that we cannot dislodge discrimination in all individual hearts, but we can and should attempt to eradicate it from our public institutions. The Black Lives Matter movement is not about the exclusion of all other lives but an insistence that we once and for all must admit that too often Black lives do not matter as much as ours. When athletes take a knee during the National Anthem they are not attempting to dishonor veterans but rather to bring attention to the reality that we are often prone to look away when Black lives are undervalued. We do not see such incidents as our problem because after all we are good people who love everyone. Sadly by ignoring the situation we contribute to the abuse. Just as we would report adults who mistreat children, so too must we take action against people and systems that are cavalier with the lives of our Black citizens. 

Mr. President, the throngs of people in the street are generally peaceful and their cause is a beautiful thing. They are protesting for the very soul of this country and in many ways they are more intent on making America great that your supporters. They are not thugs or destroyers or looters. The millions of earnest souls across the country are risking their own safety in an attempt to rebuild and redefine the systems that continue to ignore the facts surrounding the history of slavery and segregation. They are drawing attention to the racism that continues in far too many corners of the country.

If you truly want to make America great then I implore you to set your divisive rhetoric aside and serve as a model of compassion and understanding. We are all hurting and we desperately need a leader who is willing to bring us together, not taunt us to fight one another. This is a powerful moment in our nation’s history when we might once and for all admit to the egregious mistakes of the past and move forward by repairing the institutions that continue to ignore the discrimination that breeds in their midst. Truly loving this country means that we will not enable its flaws to fester and grow. Loving the United States of America means coming together to repair the damage of four hundred years of looking the other way. What a glorious thing it would be for all of us to march into the Promised Land together at last. Seize the opportunity to listen and to hear the cries for what they truly are. 

Your sincerely,                                                                                                                                         A proud citizen of the United States of America

 

(Please Note: For those who may think that my naiveté knows no bounds, I do understand that this letter is a dream but it outlines realities and hopes that I do not think any of us can afford to ignore. We must move beyond sound bites and self interests and insist on doing the right thing. This must also include those in the halls of power. Let freedom ring.)