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I so much want that image of America to be true:  spacious skies, majestic mountains, fruitful plains.  I so very much want sister/brotherhood to be crowned by grace and goodness.  I do not want this as a cover-up for the wrongs that have been or are still being done to native peoples, to slaves, the poor, the desperate refugee and to the land itself. I want it because I cannot give up on the dream of liberty and justice for all, of a country in which differences can be celebrated and where everyone’s potential can be realized.

This American Dream.  Those of us who have been fortunate enough to benefit from it, whether by chance of birth, gender, financial status, majority race or religion, need to acknowledge that for many others it has been a nightmare.  We need to understand that our privilege has ridden on the backs of others.  But this acknowledgement cannot be an excuse to wallow in guilt or throw up our hands in defeat.  Rather, it should guide the way to reconciliation, and to a renewed commitment to the ideals that, if made into a reality for all, really do make this country great.

We are struggling so much during this time of division and hostility in our national life to hang on to this dream trying to figure out how to balance and acknowledge so many critical needs.  It is very hard not to become so distraught at the daily antics of inept leaders who do not have the courage to stand up for the good of the country that we forget that it is us, we the people, for whom this nation exists.

We can all do something, and even if it seems too little, or too insignificant, do it anyway. We can make phone calls or send e-mails on a regular basis to our elected officials so they don’t forget they are accountable to us.  We can gather the courage to speak to friends, relatives or co-workers if they express opinions that are prejudiced or make hurtful and damaging comments to others.  We can tell the Pakistani clerk at our local convenience store that she is welcome in the community.  We can listen with an open mind to African-Americans, immigrants, Appalachian coal miners, and struggling single parents when they tell their stories.

Even though it may seem so, we are not on the Titanic after striking the iceberg.  But still we have to choose the role we will play. Will we be the privileged ones pushing others out of the way to jump into the lifeboats? Or the musicians trying to provide comfort even in the face of certain death? In an attempt to save ourselves, will we run past the gate holding back those labeled less important and undeserving, or will we stop and work together to break it down?

 

 

 

©Martha Hurwitz, 8/16/17
Inspired by Daily Word Prompt:  grainy

4 thoughts on “Amber Waves

  1. I live in a country that is literally sinking in ignorance, hatred and bigotry. I see youths everyday ready to die in their trial to immigrate to Europe on over loaded boats in their pursuit to escape to any other country where they can work, have a real life, and be treated as human beings. By all means, what you have is new and beautiful— when I say new, you have to understand that I live in a “10,000 years old” country, and when I say beautiful, I mean that our resources are very few, our government is the lousiest in the whole world, it’s totally drenched in corruption, we live on less than 10% of the our land, and we have no hope that one day we will have a better government. In short our ship is not on the verge of sinking, it has already sunk, but that’s us. I might be intruding here, but all I want to say is that if I blame someone for the current situation of my country, then it’s the older generations who stood by watching while we reached the bottom. When we rallied the streets back in Jan 2011, we were ready and willing to give whatever it takes to see our country beautiful again, but what we didn’t realize was that after decades of corruption, treason and worst of all “Silence”, making amends is an impossible fancy dream. Over the past 6 years, more than 5000 youths died, over 1000 disappeared and our situation today is worse, much worse. My opinion— if I have any right to state one in this case— is do anything other than standing by watching and doing nothing, if you chose to do nothing, then you have killed the generations to come.
    I apologize for the long comment, if you find it offensive, then kindly forgive me, and delete it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No offense at all. It has taken me a bit of time to digest your comment. Even in the turmoil in the US at this time, I know that we are still more fortunate than many in the world. It saddens me that humanity hasn’t figured out how to live peacefully and to care for each other. I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime, but you are correct, still we all must do what we can.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Martha, for your strong statement. Ehab’s comment is an eloquent testimony about what happens when the present generation stands by and does nothing. I fear our media-saturated country will spend precious time being onlookers instead of jumping in and doing something about the mess we’re in.
    Elouise

    Like

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