by Mari Sloan
Two hundred and forty-five years ago, America wasn’t old. I know old. I am seventy years old and I can feel it in my body, in my dreams. Two hundred and forty-five years ago America was fighting and following some brave words it had managed to put down on paper. The people fighting didn’t know if they would succeed or not. They couldn’t see the future. What they could see, looked dark.
Not even their dream was perfect. It spoke of “freedom for all” while leaving out anyone who was not white and male. The “forgers” of the new country fought constantly among themselves. It was a template that took most of the years of this country’s existence to try to achieve, and we aren’t there yet, but we have been stepping toward it, way too slowly, but making progress. It was known as “The American Dream,” and we worked to try to be a better country than the worst of its citizens while continuing to respect that they were still citizens. To respect each other, even as we disagreed.
I remember the era in which we fought for the rights of every person who is a citizen of this country to be recognized as such. This is after us mere women got the vote. Equality for all was meant to mean all. And we weren’t that smart, but we got some strong heroes. Those heroes are getting old and dying now.
It is a new era of change, right now. We have never been weaker as a country. We have never been mismanaged before by an element that has no principles or ethics. At the height of the fight to bring the American Dream to its conclusion, riff-raff crawled out of the cracks decent democracy provided and proceeded to ignore the biggest crisis we have faced yet and to feed themselves over the bodies of two-hundred-thousand dead Americans. To attempt to manipulate democracy to protect themselves from justice, and to continue to deny the basic tenets of the American Dream that made us the greatest Nation on Earth for many years.
We have a law and order problem in this country. We have a problem with law and order. Extremes in policing and extremes in protesting need the same justice. We have jails for those people. Our neighborhoods at risk need decent health care services, job opportunities, reasonable housing and opportunity for education. Our police departments need help from other agencies, more training and better screening to keep the sadists out. We need stronger gun laws aimed at keeping guns off the streets and more training and less armament in policing. We are a nation with a history of violence. We are a nation with a history of xenophobia and racism, even as immigrants built our nation. Slavery built the South and immigrants built the North.
We might argue, but we always tried to protect those that we knew could not take care of themselves. We had a plan to protect the elderly who had no family to take care of them, to protect the disabled who could not work, and to get things where they needed to go, for the benefit of all. Both parties and the American People respected the dream. Respect is gone.
It’s time to remember the goals we set so many years ago and have fought to achieve, came close to achieving, and not let them be stolen. We were not that smart, but we got things done. From an old hippie to the new generation, I pass the baton.
A Nation with no heart also has no soul. Vote to build our future.