Today is what many of your citizens call your birthday. But it isn’t.
Today is a day when a group of men—some whom had immigrated from other countries seeking freedom from oppression in various forms, some who were the children of those who had immigrated—gave final approval on the wording of a document called The Declaration of Independence.
Those men were not indigenous to this land. They had come, in hopes of something better. In hopes of creating something better, something different.
They did not include the word “women” in their document. They made no mention of slaves or Black people. They did, however, mention the Native peoples whose land they had colonized for their own: “He has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions.”
Yet it was the generation these men belonged to, and the generations prior who had begun the colonization of what became “America” that mercilessly destroyed the villages and communities of the “Indian Savages,” whose “Warfare” was a retaliation and a desperate, ongoing attempt to reclaim what had been stolen from them.
We were not founded on true equality or equity.
Some of our forefathers were abolitionists, some even defended the rights of the Native peoples of America — but as a group, their vision of “freedom” and “justice” was for White men and their families. They did not truly create any new socio-economic hierarchies: although “anyone” could make it in America, the odds were in favor of those with breeding, with class distinction, with money, etc.
Women were second-class citizens (or lower) for over a hundred years after the signing of The Declaration of Independence. It took a Civil War before America as an entity would recognize the personhood of Black people. To this day, our country has major problems with the gender gap and with racial inequality/inequity.
America I do love you. I realize that I have the right to write about you and to publish my words on the internet because of some of the same ideals that the forefathers worked for. I do not want to destroy or disown you.
What I wish is that you would accept the monumental burden of compliance that the disenfranchised and oppressed have been asking you to accept. I wish that, instead of trying to deflect or smoke-and-mirror your way out of responsibility, you would step up. Be brave. Say “yes, this is absolutely a part of me, and yes, it has to stop.”
We need you to be brave. We need to see you live in your truth, fully and wholly, for the first time ever.
Because there are so many who live within your shores who believe that America is just for them. There are so many who believe that the forefathers were infallible and that the hierarchies are unbreakable and that the infrastructures of oppression are necessary in order for America to keep being America.
Many of those people are being force-fed that narrative by that tiny percentage of people who control the wealth and its distribution. It is a never-ending cycle: they feed people the narrative that the status quo (the very status quo which keeps the people downtrodden and fills the bank accounts of those in power) is an absolute necessity, the people eat it up and regurgitate it — and so the narrative spreads.
But the narrative is wrong.
America, you’re in trouble. There are so many warring factions now. Even to discuss the unrest is to jump from one point to another to another, because the unrest is so widespread, so multi-faceted, and so pernicious.
I have so much more to say. And yet I fear that words mean nothing anymore.
Just look at these words, from that same Declaration of Independence–words listing the crimes and ill deeds committed by King George, who fought our forefathers tooth and nail to hold on to his power in the colonies, but who was ultimately defeated…or was he?
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only.
He has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People.
He has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries.
He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance.
He has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.