You of the red, white, and blue. Of the free and the brave. Of the purple mountain’s majesty.
I’m just like you, born of Lady Liberty, weaned on a mother’s milk of revolution and independence, all tied up with a Fourth of July bow. I can’t run away from who and what I am, even if I wanted to.
And I don’t.
Right now I may reside outside the confines of the Nifty Fifty, but I’m still one of you. American parts. American made. I still care—deeply—about what happens in yon Motherland. I yearn to see the rollout of USA: Full Potential…and I still believe it’s there, buried under all the rhetoric and White noise.
There are a LOT of you I don’t agree with. I actively rail against the policies some of you fight so tenaciously for. Heck, I may even loathe some of you, personally and with malice aforethought.
But I don’t want you to die from this virus. I don’t want your mother or father or sibling or kids to die. I don’t want another 275,000 Americans to die out of sheer apathy or surrender.
The country—our country— is facing one of the biggest tests in its history, and…it’s failing. Epically. Spectacularly. Why it’s failing is not so important right now. We can parse that shit out later. What’s important right now is figuring out how to save the whole kit and caboodle from falling off the cliff face. Because right now? It’s balancing on the edge, by the toenails.
And unless everyone starts working to save everyone else, not just the folks you agree with, the whole thing is going to go over the edge.
There will be no country left to duke it out over. It won’t matter if your guy won or lost. There’s not going to be much left to fight over.
You don’t have to agree with me politically or ideologically to protect yourself, your family, your neighbors, the health care system, or the economy. You can hate me, you can hate what I support, what I stand for, who I vote for, and still act to protect yourself, your family, your community.
It’s the economy, right? Well, the economy ain’t gonna recover when 3K people a day are dying, when millions of people aren’t shopping, aren’t buying, don’t have the money to spend, can’t pay their rent or mortgage, aren’t eating out or traveling. You don’t need to be an economist to know that. Oh, there are plenty who will be ok. But there are millions who won’t be, who already aren’t.
The health care system cannot sustain what is coming. And no one in their right mind can continue to expect the nurses and doctors to bear the brunt of such apathy. We’ve traumatized an entire generation of health care workers.
A great country does not abandon its citizens in the midst of a global pandemic. There is nothing great about leaving people to die, alone, cut off from their loved ones, nothing but a Zoomed goodbye.
That’s not great. That’s appalling.
The greatness of the United States has always been the resilience of its people, not the government. It’s the people, not the abstracts. It’s not who sits in the Oval Office. It is the sheer determination of the people to overcome—and overturn—our worst impulses, our darkest hearts, to light the way through our darkest hours.
It’s not the President. It’s not the governor or the mayor. It’s the everyday American who must bear the weight of determination to fix this.
You want to make America great? Don’t get sick. Don’t infect Grandma. Wear a mask. Yes, sacrifice is necessary. I know it sucks you can’t get together on Christmas. Use it as an excuse to lounge around in sweatpants all day. I know it sucks not gathering with friends and family. It’s been a long nine months. We all long for normalcy, but we owe it to those who have no choice–because they are essential workers, because they are frontline workers–to protect them by doing everything we can.
And you guys! The dawn is coming.
But we all know how the saying goes. When is it always darkest?
That’s right. Before the dawn.
You need to buckle down, buckle up. You need to care. About yourselves, about others, about the nurses who are crying every night because they are elbow deep in death, about the doctors who can’t hug their own kids at night. About your neighbors, and yes, even about all those people you disagree with to the point of hating. Because the boat is sinking, and when the vessel starts taking on water, it doesn’t ask how you voted or what your ideology is. It just goes down, with everyone on board.
It doesn’t matter what party you support. It doesn’t matter whether you watch Fox or MSNBC. All that matters is this: Either care…or you don’t.
And if you don’t? Well, then there was never anything great to get back to, was there?