This year has been a disaster.
We are living through a global pandemic yet have inadequate health screenings, medical equipment or a viable vaccine.
We are witness to public lynchings of black people at the hands of law enforcement yet our legal system continues to be slow to act if at all.
Our schools and hospitals are starved for resources yet police have riot gear, tear gas and army surplus tanks to patrol the streets.
Climate change causes unprecedented storms, droughts, wildfires, hurricanes and other extreme weather yet our policymakers refuse to take any action to change it or even acknowledge it’s happening.
We’re experiencing record unemployment and a stalled economy yet the super rich loot and pillage recovery efforts to record profits.
White supremacists are terrorizing our communities yet we ignore it until someone is killed and refuse to see any pattern, just a series of loners unrelated and unstoppable.
Refugees with nowhere else to go seek shelter at our door and yet we respond by rounding them up like criminals, separating them from their children and caging them like animals…
Guns are unregulated. Truth is uncelebrated. Fascism rebranded.
All while America burns and the President hides in his bunker.
But he is not the only one.
Nearly every leader in America has failed to meet these challenges.
So maybe the problem isn’t just our leadership but where these people come from in the first place.
Our politics is so beholden to monetary interests it cannot function for anyone else.
We are left out of the system and told that the only solution is participation in it.
We go door-to-door, organize and hold rallies for our chosen candidates. We navigate political labyrinths of red tape in an edifice labeled “Democracy” but at every turn stifled of collective voice. And sometimes we even win and see our preferred public servants inaugurated.
But every year nothing much changes.
Things get progressively worse no matter who is in office.
And we’re told to clutch at changes that are not nearly adequate or which are cosmetic at best.
It’s no wonder, then, that so many folks have taken to the streets to express their outrage and demand justice.
No one really wants a revolution we’re told, until the streets are on fire and the riot shields and rubber bullets come out.
In frustration we burn the place down begging to be noticed, to be heard, for anything to finally happen.
And the only response is echoes of the past: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
America is a failed state.
We are a failure.
But there is at least one thing that gives me hope, and it is this.
There is one major way that our country and our people have not failed.
There is one way that we have surveyed the present scene and responded appropriately.
We have not lost our outrage.
When George Floyd, a black man, was murder in May by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes, we did not look away.
Nor did we forget Breonna Taylor, a Black woman, who in March was killed in Kentucky by police serving a “no knock” warrant at her apartment for criminals they already had in custody.
Nor did we forget Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man jogging near his home in February who was followed and shot to death by two white men who claimed they suspected him of committing some sort of crime.
It would be easy to become complacent about such things.
They happen every year. Every month. Nearly every day.
But we have refused to accept them.
We refuse to shrug and let this just become normal.
America is angry. She is sick and tired of being unheard and unheeded.
She is fed up with unjust systems, gas lighting leaders and political thugs.
To quote James Baldwin, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
We are trying to face the truth.
Only time will tell whether it destroys us or we conquer it.
Like this post? You might want to consider becoming a Patreon subscriber. This helps me continue to keep the blog going and get on with this difficult and challenging work.
Plus you get subscriber only extras!
Just CLICK HERE.
I’ve also written a book, “Gadfly on the Wall: A Public School Teacher Speaks Out on Racism and Reform,” now available from Garn Press. Ten percent of the proceeds go to the Badass Teachers Association. Check it out!