An Open Letter to America

Dear America,

First let me say that I will always love you, no matter what you do.  You were and are a grand experiment, but like all experiments there are tremendous variables, mistakes and necessary trial and error.  You have just made a terrible, terrible mistake, but that doesn’t mean I will write you off or disavow you.  On the contrary, I will now remember the many times I have made mistakes in my life without suffering the consequence of condemnation and what a relief that was, and how healing.  I am here for you in your darkest hour, even though you brought it on yourself.

I am thinking of terrible mistakes you have made in the past; in some cases, as with the treatment of our indigenous people, you never really had to face the music for what you had done.  In other cases, as with slavery, the price you paid was dear.  But somehow, in spite of everything, progress continued to be made.  The wonderful country I grew up in has become more so in my lifetime, mainly through exponentially increased inclusion.  Inclusion is our premise, and we have grown in leaps and bounds in this arena.

However, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and that is what got us here today.  Because some of our citizens have been raised to believe inclusion is a threatening stance.  That the more people we accept, the less there will be left for the rest of us.  That our differences should divide us, rather than making us bigger and better.  It is not your fault if you believe this, any more than it is my fault that I believe in the goodness of mankind and that I am my brother’s keeper, no matter what his race, religion, sex or sexual orientation.  This is how we were raised, and it is hard to break free of the many years of conditioning we receive during our formative years.

But still, you have made a terrible mistake.  The consequences of this mistake will be far-reaching and devastating to so many people.  You think it will be okay, because you think this mistake you have made will only affect people who don’t “belong” here, people who are not living by the rules you believe in.  This belief is also wrong, because with only a small handful of exceptions, we will all be suffering now.

Because what you don’t understand is that it never was about “us” versus “them”.  There is no “them”.  We are all made of exactly the same stuff, and we can all be broken or healed, good or bad, weak or strong.  We all have the capacity for greatness and we all have the capacity for villainy.  There are no exceptions in this.  There are too many factors involved in the complexity of what it means to be human to ever judge a whole person by any one thing.  None of us has a corner on the market of righteousness; none of us is immune from the degradation we can suffer at each other’s hands.

We are all vulnerable now, in an unprecedented way; we are all at risk.  The freedoms that set us apart from every nation on earth at our inception are in immediate peril.  The idea that some of us are “better” and deserve more is the slipperiest slope going; because once the initial parameters are established as to what constitutes “better”, the circle gets smaller.  And if those parameters continue to be enforced, they will, over time, narrow.  Fewer and fewer of us will “qualify”.  And don’t kid yourself into believing that you will have any say in what those parameters are, because you just gave away your power.  Now someone else gets to decide if you made the cut.

History has proven that this will not end well, perhaps even for the majority of us alive today.  But history has also proven that somehow the pendulum will swing back and we will learn from our very worst mistakes.  We are still a young country, and in retrospect this will be viewed as a teenage rebellion; we had no clue what we were doing, but our anger and immaturity has triggered a colossal crisis.  As is the unfortunate case with all teenagers who do reckless, dangerous things, some of us will not survive it.

But our country will.  Our country will not only survive it but it will someday grow greater for having made such a terrible mistake.  Because we are all made of the same stuff, and that stuff can’t help but grow and evolve, it is the law of nature.  We will learn from our mistake, perhaps not in my lifetime but certainly in my son’s.  It is my job to teach him to believe in the goodness of mankind, despite all evidence to the contrary.  It is my job to remind him to act from the goodness in himself.

We have made a terrible mistake.  Those of us who understand it are allowed to grieve, but we can’t lie down.  We have to continue to stand up for our beliefs even if it becomes dangerous to do so.  Perhaps especially then.  This will not be an easy journey for us, but it will be a worthwhile one.  We all have the capacity for greatness and villainy, but often it is the villainy in others that brings out the greatness in us.  We remain a team, symbiotic to the end.  We remain standing, even in our darkest hour.  We will become greater because we were forced to confront our darkness.  This is us.  And we ALL can and will do better.

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I am Editor-in-Chief at OTV Magazine. Find me also at "Your New Best Friend" (http://karapostkennedy.blogspot.com/), The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kara-postkennedy/),The Good Men Project (https://goodmenproject.com/author/kara-post-kennedy/) and Twitter (@kpk_newbf)

10 thoughts on “An Open Letter to America

  1. Thank you for this article. I am grieving deeply, and as always I am told by random white men I do not know on social media to “calm down” and stop using words like racist. I live in Texas. I can call a racist a racist. They are in my family. I know what they say and how they behave. I cannot calm down yet. I am trying my best to believe that the worst possible president can bring about healing at a deep level for many of us who work to bring more light to the dark places of society that obviously exist. I can only assume that sexism and racism is tolerated in larger degrees in rural areas. How do we combat this? I can only assume that if I am highly triggered and feel as if the people in my country do not care about the safety of women, then other women must feel the same way I do. How do we work together? Why didn’t more women vote? I’m still puzzled by that one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amen. I’ve been wondering how the Great Divider is supposed to suddenly change spots/stripes/colors to become the Great Uniter. And honestly, more people than we know will admit it believe wholeheartedly in what Trump said…but they won’t say it out loud. It’s enough that my heart was all fluttery and I had trouble sleeping and more impending migraines than I’d had in the past year thanks to this creep…and having to hear the support and little bit of pride in my family’s voices, too. Because I wasn’t able to keep up, I didn’t have much a leg to stand on when it came to debate, so I stayed away. I voted, but I’ve avoided political conversation with family since, especially since the last one nearly ended in a screaming match. Well, they won, and I don’t wanna hear a word about it from them right now…though my dad was rather civil about the whole thing today. Still, I’m trying to figure out how to stomach what we have now and what’s to come. I can’t predict the future, and admittedly I am almost at the point of just hoping I survive it…with all the other women who’ll be turned against in time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely understand. I can’t see extended family this year, and it is disgusting to watch his appointments to office. I hope we are able to work together to stop him in ways we have never worked together before…. I’m involved locally….

        Liked by 2 people

  2. This says so well what I need to say. The stress of the election sent me to the hospital where I am now, not because I am a whiner or weakling, but because I suffer from MS. Stress is a killer. The brain decides to attack itself and it’s not something that you can turn on or off. I worry about medical care for those who need. No one can say what will happen now but with no real checks and balances available with all three branches in the same hands, the prognosis is not good.

    I have always been a patriot to the US and won’t run away now. I served in the US Army, overcame discrimination because I’m a woman, taught in the public schools, transitioned to Private schools for two years to learn first hand the differences in expectations and transitioned back into public school teaching. Yeah, and I but US made trade goods, cars, etc.

    MS stole my career. It stole all of our savings, leaving me with no pension. I paid into Social Security and Medicare and don’t regret that expense. I never thought I would need to use it. We live on my husband’s salary and disability. I gave up $55,000 dollars a year in 2004 for $16,000 dollars a year. Like all people on Medicare, I pay for that insurance. There is a quick fix that will keep that system operational, and I hope it is realized. If we all contributed taxes to it up to $200,000 dollars a year, it would be flush and able to help all of us.

    I believe in inclusion because we do live in the same areas, have the same families, and are dealing with similar situations.

    I believe in freedom of religion and speech. I don’t believe in hate speech. I don’t believe seditious speech should be allowed.

    I believe in respect and am disappointed that our current president who doesn’t have so much as a speeding ticket isn’t accorded the respect of the office. I believe your skin color means less than you think as our DNA is showing with the ability to see racial tendencies from different places in the world.

    I believe that knowledge is a good thing, and if you are willing to accept that your values may be different and good for you, but not for others, we’ll all get along better. I believe in Science and that we are just at the beginning of understanding illnesses, nutrition, development of human behaviors, and so much more.

    I don’t believe that religion belongs in our government. Many of the loudest supporters of religion in government have not studied the US Constitution or have taken Civics. You can worship as you believe, but please don’t try to enforce it elsewhere. We’re great being a people of diversity, even if a climate of fear has been created by certain parties.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Ann WJ White and commented:
    This says so well what I need to say. The stress of the election sent me to the hospital where I am now, not because I am a whiner or weakling, but because I suffer from MS. Stress is a killer. The brain decides to attack itself and it’s not something that you can turn on or off. I worry about medical care for those who need. No one can say what will happen now but with no real checks and balances available with all three branches in the same hands, the prognosis is not good.

    I have always been a patriot to the US and won’t run away now. I served in the US Army, overcame discrimination because I’m a woman, taught in the public schools, transitioned to Private schools for two years to learn first hand the differences in expectations and transitioned back into public school teaching. Yeah, and I but US made trade goods, cars, etc.

    MS stole my career. It stole all of our savings, leaving me with no pension. I paid into Social Security and Medicare and don’t regret that expense. I never thought I would need to use it. We live on my husband’s salary and disability. I gave up $55,000 dollars a year in 2004 for $16,000 dollars a year. Like all people on Medicare, I pay for that insurance. There is a quick fix that will keep that system operational, and I hope it is realized. If we all contributed taxes to it up to $200,000 dollars a year, it would be flush and able to help all of us.

    I believe in inclusion because we do live in the same areas, have the same families, and are dealing with similar situations.

    I believe in freedom of religion and speech. I don’t believe in hate speech. I don’t believe seditious speech should be allowed.

    I believe in respect and am disappointed that our current president who doesn’t have so much as a speeding ticket isn’t accorded the respect of the office. I believe your skin color means less than you think as our DNA is showing with the ability to see racial tendencies from different places in the world.

    I believe that knowledge is a good thing, and if you are willing to accept that your values may be different and good for you, but not for others, we’ll all get along better. I believe in Science and that we are just at the beginning of understanding illnesses, nutrition, development of human behaviors, and so much more.

    I don’t believe that religion belongs in our government. Many of the loudest supporters of religion in government have not studied the US Constitution or have taken Civics. You can worship as you believe, but please don’t try to enforce it elsewhere. We’re great being a people of diversity, even if a climate of fear has been created by certain parties.

    Like

  4. The biggest myth we believe in is that of lack. That there’s barely enough for me, let alone us. It’s an attitude if like to reverse… Together we are more. I hope for lessons to unfold that are not horribly painful. I hope for the sentiment you echo in this statement: “On the contrary, I will now remember the many times I have made mistakes in my life without suffering the consequence of condemnation and what a relief that was, and how healing.”

    Liked by 2 people

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