This is America. This is my America. This is my family’s America. This is the America I know better than I want to admit. So don’t hit me with your “this is not America” rhetoric that’s going around. Nope. This is the America that we have all been living in for years and years and years. Only now, our eyes and ears are open. Only now, you and I are able to see and hear what people have been warning us for at least the last four years.
This is America. This is not a tiny group of people who were miraculously able to get past the barricades and police. No. This is a large group of people. More than 74 million people voted for our current president in 2020. You read that right. 74 million people decided that the actions of our president over the past 4+ years were acceptable. Ok, ok. Not all of those who voted for him thought all of his actions were ok. But they were ok enough to continue the GOP as it currently exists. Or maybe some of them just wanted to secure Supreme Court vacancies by voting for this man. However, even if not all 74 million of them showed up in-person for him today at the US Capitol, they did in spirit. They said this president is good enough to be president for another four…more…years.
This is my family. This is me.
This is America. As I’ve watched the footage (and probably too much of it) of today’s horrific, saddening, maddening, yet not surprising events, I keep seeing myself. I keep seeing my friends. I continue to see my family. The people in these images, in these videos, look like me. They look like the majority of people I know…and know well. They are many of my friends. They are many of my family members. They are my family who want to ignore the fact that I protested in Ferguson, and yet want to “help” my girls. They are my friends who unfriended me on social media, and yet sent me gifts as they tried to save my girls. They are the people I know. They are me.
This is America. Once our current president was elected more than four years ago now, #notmypresident began to trend. But I couldn’t tweet it. I couldn’t use that hashtag. I couldn’t say those words. Why? Because he had been voted in legitimately. Sure, there had been all kinds of social media ads, hackers and what have you prior to the election. But he won, even if it was done in a sleazy way. He won. Plus, all I could hear in my head was a family member in 2009 saying that Obama “is not my president.” Well, sorry to break it to you, Obama was the president of the USA 2009-2016. And since you’re an American citizen, he is and was your president during that time.
This is what passion looks like in America.
This is America. We’re told to be passionate. We’re told to stand up for what we believe. Well, let me rephrase. Us white people are told to be passionate. Us white people are told to stand up for what we believe. Because persons of color in this country know better. They know they can be killed. They know that protesting and standing up for their family, for themselves, or for their neighbors can get them killed. And they know our history. They know the awful history of slavery, lynching, and imprisonment in our country.
This is America. Joy Reid said tonight, “White Americans are never afraid of the cops even when they’re committing insurrection.” Yep. Yes. 100%. This is certainly the America that I know. This is a privilege that most of us white Americans know. Are you afraid of the police? Probably not. They’re probably the first people you call if you’re in trouble. You probably personally know a cop. You may even be a cop. Because us white people are taught that the cops are our friends and are part of the solution, not the problem. After seeing some footage today, do we still agree with this? Are we still ok with the power cops have?
The president is blocked on social media…but not from nuclear codes.
This is America. It’s an America where the president is currently blocked on Twitter and Facebook. And yet, he still holds the nuclear codes. Let that sink in.
This is America. There’s no getting around it. It’s an America that is divided. It’s an America that has a difficult time seeing various viewpoints.
This is America. But I’m not convinced this is where America has to stay. I’m not convinced that this is what the majority – the vast majority – of Americans want. Maybe it’s an America that possibly has a tiny bit of hope. At the heart of who I am and also at the heart of what I think America is, is not just positivity but the possibility of unification, inclusivity, and reconciliation. Is it possible? I ask for our country’s future and for the future of my girls. Is it possible to be united? The next few weeks, the next few days will tell…
In May 2017, Chris and I became parents to our three daughters. We are forever learning how to best support our three black daughters as we navigate life as a transracial family through adoption.
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