Joy and Pain
“Remember when you first found love how you felt so good
Kind that last forever more so you thought it would
Suddenly the things you see got you hurt so bad
How come the things that make us happy make us sad”
Not unlike most people, as 2015 comes to a close, I reflect over the year. For me, this year, more so than any other, has showed me, in no uncertain terms, the contradiction of America. Yes, there are many good things about this country. That doesn’t negate the facts. America needs to get honest. It is both ironic and befitting that I sit here, writing this post, two days before Christmas. And it is with that contradiction I begin.
The very First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion. We have seen an increasing demand over the past few years that the separation of church and state be honored. And yet, the two days a year where nearly everything shuts down are Christmas and Easter. Although lately folks use the terms “Holiday Shopping” and “Happy Holidays”, let’s be honest, this still occurs in December, culminating on December 25th. I haven’t heard those same people, who are pushing a hard line on separation of church and state, proposing legislation to rescind December 25th as a National Holiday. Why is that?
Then there is the Second Amendment which gives the people the right to bear arms. (I won’t even get into the context in which it was written.) There is a direct correlation between right to bear arms and the manufacturing and thus availability of said arms. And what “arms” do people need exactly? Because the purpose of assault weapons is what? Of all the thousands of deaths and injuries by guns, in America every year, what percent are in defense of people or property? 90%, 50%, 10%? “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is an age old reason in support of not making any changes regarding guns in this country. And yet, neither do alcohol, drugs and cars kill people, but we certainly have strict rules/laws governing and restricting their manufacturing and usage.
How about ths symbol of contradiction – the “Scales of Justice”? This symbol of the American Justice System held by Lady Justice represents a fair and blind system. Who can even say that with a straight face? There are countless examples of this contradiction. (In fact, I won’t even call this a contradiction but rather a flat out lie, to tell the truth.) However, I will give you just one example of “blind and balanced” justice. In 2012, Judge Jean Boyd (Texas) sentenced a 14 year old to 10 years in prison for punching another ten who fell, hit his head and subsequently died. In 2013, (the same) Judge Jean Boyd sentenced a 15 year old to rehab in a swanky CA facility and 10 years probation for killing 4 people and injuring 7 others while driving drunk.
America often boasts of being the “Greatest Country In The World”. We hear people speak of “this great nation”. America needs to begin telling the truth. America is that parent who is quick to tell someone else the problem with their kids when their own kids are running amuck. America represents 4.4% of the world’s population yet 25% of the world’s prison population. Can America have that many “criminals”, per capita, and still be the greatest country in the world?
I could go on and on but I won’t cause I have made my point. I work every day to improve the lives of my family, my community and this nation. We can not solve problems until we tell the truth that problems exist, identify said problems and work tirelessly, selflessly and endlessly toward coming up with solutions for change.
This is a country that was built on lies, contractions, deceit and violence. We don’t have to be a country that lives in those roots. We can uproot and replant in better soil.
As 2016 vastly approaches, think about what you can do to evoke change; decide what you will do to improve this country. It doesn’t have to be anything monumental. It just needs to be something that is ongoing and consistent. If you can’t think of anything you can do, holler at your girl. I have plenty of suggestions.
“Being a good person” is no longer enough. Being is not a state of action. This country is in crisis. It’s Action Time!
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