America Bleeds People, and She Needs You in Her Veins.
America is bleeding. We often suffer wounds, because we aren’t perfect. We The People elect People. Who make mistakes. No matter who is in charge, some wounds happen.
Now, more than ever, big gaping holes have been ripped into America’s body, and we bleed. The lifeblood of the United States of America are her people. We bleed people. Please look. Please see. We are desperately injured. Staying in your vein will not heal our wounds.
Jump into the breach, my friends. You have power to heal America’s lacerations. Do not let her bleed out. We, together, step out of our comfortable flow and grasp the hands of people who are being displaced through regulations, neglect, or lack of funding.
The sick. Vulnerable. Those with skin that is not white. Members of tribes of America’s original people. Those who don’t fit what or who some people believe they should be. Gay. Trans. Queer. Bi. Lesbian. Those who think or speak differently because their minds don’t work the same as others, or because their first language was not English. Those whose personal spiritual beliefs differ from the mainstream.
Those whose very existence feels uncomfortable to some.
Hear us. You belong. You are part of America’s blood, and she needs you in her veins. Flowing. Adding to our whole. Our We. Speak your truth, and teach all of us to see beyond ourselves. To become greater than the sum of our siloed parts.
The body of America can be stronger than ever. Our We will be strongest when no one is left behind. When the weak are compassionately pulled up by the strong, so we can all become stronger together. When all can rise to their full potential to be, to grow, to learn, and then to become the strong, so others can be, grow, learn, and become.
Only when every person has access can we become whole. This includes a place to sleep and live, protection from harm, healthy food and water, clean air, health care, and the opportunity to work for a wage that will provide these things. Minimum. For everyone.
False choices have been placed before us. Will you honor Police, or believe Black Lives Matter? Honorable police believe that Black lives matter, and they don’t have to dilute the statement by saying, “Well, all lives matter.” They know (because they have seen) that we (as a country) have placed a lower value on Black and Brown lives, and they determine to do better. All of us determine to do better. To be better.
To close gaps that allow predators to work in law enforcement jobs, protected while they cause harm.
Another false choice: Capitalism or Social Structures. Really? Social structures co-exist with capitalist entities in other countries, to the benefit of all. When we choose our values first, then change our practices to fit our values, there will be no room for 1% of the country to have way more than enough, while the poorest age group in America is our children (16% poverty rate).
When we allow capitalistic entities to pay below-living-wage to working single parents (because… that’s American Capitalism) and at the same time deny sustainable supplemental assistance (because… Gasp! That would be Socialism), we cripple entire families. Not only do we prevent that single parent from having opportunities for personal growth, but we penalize his/her child or children and leave them in poverty.
What are our values? How do we decide? Do we decide what we want, then choose values that help us get it? Was slavery a necessary evil, as Senator Cotton of Florida still believes? Our country might look different now if there had been no slavery, but if we could go back — with today’s knowledge — what would we do differently?
When people are victimized by the laws of our country, does the end justify the means?
America, made of individuals, must find our common values that represent who we are as a body. Should every person be able to access quality healthcare? Wait! Don’t weigh the cost. There are people’s lives involved here. First, answer the question. Should every person in our great country have access to quality healthcare?
Answering these questions before weighing the cost is the only way we can still be a country of the people, by the people, and for the people.
America, we bleed people. Look into their eyes as you decide who we should be.
Teri Reade lives and works in Snohomish County, Washington, with her husband/writer Doug. She helps students at a local community college to get jobs in their area of training. When something rises up in her gut that must be written down, she sees it in pictures, then writes it in words. She saw the open wound hemorrhaging America’s lifeblood. And wrote this.