I wrote a story called “Sunset in America” for my Medium page a couple of years ago. I was writing in support of the blossoming protests against police violence that were happening in Louisville and then across the nation. As we approach the Fourth of July, I want to quote myself and expand on this idea because the energy of those days, is needed now as much as it was then.
“To quote the asshole fire chief who let 11 black people including children burn in a Philadelphia building in 1985, ‘Let the fire burn.’ Let the riots and the protests continue. Fuck it up, kids. If you march in peace, march in peace, but I’m not going to tell anyone how to be angry. To remake a nation we have to begin by destroying the symbols of its empire. America is a nation founded and consistently changed when its citizens decide enough is enough and begin to chip away at the systems that have held too many of us under its foot for so long. This has never happened without a riot.”
This time it isn’t simply police violence that needs to shift in America, but America that needs to shift. From top to bottom, side to side, this nation is due for a reckoning. It is due to be remade — from the people who hold the seats of power to the documents that govern that power. This nation is on life support because too many fail to see that it’s a place that does not need resuscitation. It needs to die of natural causes.
With repeated mass shootings, continued police violence (and inaction), inflation caused by greedy speculation and a former president who thought printing money was an answer to not having enough, the fact is: America is and has been ailing for a long time.
The country that we want and deserve hasn’t been born yet and it is our collective duty to create that nation that really lives up to what “America” idealizes itself to be… but how?
We have to stop holding on to the past, and look toward what comes next. Period. The past may hold some value, but some ideas from the past are not serving us well now. Certainly, the Second Amendment is one of those areas that has been misused and misinterpreted for political gain and now citizens of this country are dying because of it.
The Constitution, along with our attitudes about guns and the acceptability and inevitability of death need to be changed. We aren’t safer because of the Second Amendment, we’re so far from safe, in fact.
Referring back to my Medium piece, I really think it is time to say:
“Goodbye, America the Empire. We really do want America, the Beautiful but that can’t happen with a piece of paper and no crayons. This nation needs to make good on the promises it made to all of us.”
I’m not sure what else to say or how to impress upon anyone that the pace of America’s decline is exhausting and the only way to stop it is to change how we do this experiment we call The United States of America. I’m tired of yelling at Republicans. I’m tired of yelling about Jesus freaks who don’t truly follow or care about Jesus’ message. What good does any of that do?
More than any of that, I’m tired of reading in the news about mass amounts of babies, teens or elderly people being shot to death by individuals who’ve been reared in a culture that says guns are the glory and to the gun we give our unabashed allegiance. We can’t blame mental illness for the insanity and result of gun worship in this country.
So, on the anniversary of our nation’s freedom, I propose that we stop yelling in our echo chambers, stop trying to change each others mind and start trying to change this country into one that we would all like to live in and leave to our children so that they may be safe, loved and, theoretically, live to a happy and ripe old age.
I’m not naive, I know that’s not coming without battles, but, if we’re going to have it out, let’s do it so that we can move on.
Let America burn so that the seeds of rebirth have room to sprout. •
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