The United States of America is officially dying. As 2016 comes to a close, our country struggles to take its lasts breaths. We say goodbye to a beloved President and First Family, the first African-American First Family and are forced to shake hands with the person who questioned our leader’s birth certificate for 8 years. We not only rewarded the man who demanded proof of a man’s American citizenship because of the color of his skin but we gave the completely unqualified monster his job.
We’re exiting a time of prosperity and health and being asked to be led by a man who didn’t win the popular vote, very much like we did at the beginning of this century. And whether we realize it or not, many of us are getting flashbacks to a time when our solution to terrorist attacks was to wage wars against the wrong enemy. The only difference is that where many of us thought that George W. Bush was the wrong choice, we didn’t desperately fear what his presidency would bring. We didn’t cry for the careless disregard that was being given to our constitution. We didn’t tremble over the numerous similarities between our new leader and the leader of the Third Reich.
Each day that goes by, the man who lost the popular vote by over two and a half million (and counting) people pieces together his cabinet with person after person who is hoping to dismantle the beauty of our country. The country that takes care of its people through the education of its youth is faced with a woman who wants the quality of your children’s education to be determined by your salary. The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency is the person least interested in protecting the environment. If this man had stock in bubble wrap, he’d tell you that our best bet for keeping our planet safe would be to paper the whole fucking place with that shit. And then he’d remind us how fun it is to pop it just so we’d have to buy more and redo the wrapping job. Our new labor secretary, a fast food CEO, isn’t all that fond of labor and prides himself on his ability to sell the ultimate American dream: a busty blonde in a bikini eating a cheeseburger. The list goes on and each choice is worse than the one it follows.
Our President-Elect has been lying about jobs he saved, taking credit for jobs he has nothing to do with, has given the go-ahead to a potential tech monopoly, has gone on countless Twitter rants and embarrassing SNL rages that are the stuff of maniacal dictators and is currently holding a self-congratulatory Thank You Tour.
The United States is dying.
You know what, though? Maybe this is for the best. Maybe The United States of America, as it was, does need to come to an end. This nation was started under some thoroughly wonderful ideology and a finely crafted constitution and even before we put it into place, we were violating it.
How can you build a country of equality on the bones of the people whose land you stole to do so? How can the foundation of a truly equal nation stay strong when it’s built by the work of slaves? And how can a flag stand for liberty and justice for all when it was sewn by a woman whose gender still isn’t as “all” as another?
There are so many things that The United States got right. There is so much for us to be proud of. And yet, to tell the full truth, we have to admit that we’re a country that has hypocrisy woven into our fibers. We pledge freedoms and still limit people’s control of their own bodies. We promise justice when we regularly blame victims and absolve authority without a second glance. And we make caricatures of real people and then claim they’re our tradition.
Maybe there was no way to build the country we wanted using the methods we employed before. Maybe there was no way to fix the mistakes we made when more people weren’t joining in the fight. We can’t just fight for our own rights, we have to fight for the rights of all.
I can’t just care about the rights of white women just because I am one. I have to care about the rights of all people, of all genders, of all identities. I have to join hands with people who don’t look like me or sound like me or love like me and pledge to fight just as hard for their rights as I do my own. If I don’t, then not only do I not deserve the rewards but I haven’t actually worked for them.
Maybe this will be our Rebirth of a Nation. Maybe this was our only way to survive. Maybe this is how we save our country, instead of how we lose it