American. Born July 4, 1776. Died November 8, 2016
We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of—and celebrate the life of—a grand ideal. The birth and death of what could have been a truly great country embraced and admired by all of mankind. An ideal forged by great men who did not realize the value of others who shared the same beliefs but looked different from them. Men who failed to recognize that the country they founded was essentially made up of people no one else wanted. But still, in their wisdom, they decided that we could work all of that out at a later date.
America died prematurely while surrounded by family and friends. Even enemies sent their condolences. India, Africa, Japan and China are countries whose civilizations far surpassed America’s age by thousands and thousands of years and sought to assist America in its final hours. However, America failed to recognize that these countries that lived far longer than us knew how to get along with the rest of the planet and by that time the cancer of “isms” and “phobias” had spread to Stage 4.
The men who felt the weight of colonial oppression tossed the Colonial Tea into the water as an act of rebellion (or terrorism depending on where you reside in this argument). This famed act of American colonial defiance served as a protest against taxation. On the night of December 16, 1773, Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships in the Boston harbor and threw 342 chests of tea overboard. This resulted in the passage of the punitive Coercive Acts in 1774 and pushed the two sides closer to war, and ultimately Independence from British rule.
Yet these very same willful men, who formed this perfect Union, forgot a simple biblical scripture that Jesus delivered in his Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12). According to the Mosaic law, which contains a parallel commandment: “Whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to any other person.”
Instead of following this simple biblical principle once their safety was assured, they did exactly what they rebelled against. They raped, pillaged and diseased the indigenous population. They allowed boats to arrive from other countries where people were again raped, pillaged, diseased, and left to die on the ocean floor or sold as property to the highest bidder for enslavement for 200 years. And if that were not enough, they terrorized these same people and declassified them as being human through their laws in order to ensure that they would remain as chattel. The blood of those made to be chattle—people who were reduced to the soure of profit—stains the very ground that we walk on.
America was a precocious and exceptionally brilliant child. America invented cars, rail, manufacturing, and last but not least…Democracy. Democracy was the creation which held the most promise. The ability to pick your representatives in government and to ensure that your voice was heard. America created vaccines, nuclear energy, and oh the things it did with the simple peanut.
But America had a dire health issue from its beginning: America became myopic and only focused on the feelings and needs of one group of people. America only looked forward, It left many behind without consequence or care. It sold the dream and pretended it was for us all, but in truth, it was only for the privileged. America never took a moment to apologize or repair the damage it had done in its desire to grow and grow up rapidly at the expense of others. Simply put, it ignored its victims.
America teaches with pride in the public schools that we were smart negotiators because we cheated the First Nation (the “Indians”) in a deal that purchased the land that now contains the City of New York for essentially $24.00. The first lesson taught to kids in school was that it’s OK to cheat people as long as you achieve your goals.
On occasion, it was thought that America was politically bi-polar in that we were part of the overthrow of a hated Nazi regime yet we gave tacit approval of South Africa’s long-entrenched system of apartheid. We attempted to overthrow Fidel Castro at the Bay of Pigs, while this communist dictator highlighted our own hypocrisy of the treatment of Blacks in America. Did we not believe that the rest of the world saw how we treated The First Nation, Blacks, Jews, and the Japanese while we allowed the cancer of the KKK, White Pride, Unconscious Capitalism and other movements designed to subjugate and disenfranchise others to grow, unchecked?
We fed on our own as we matured and actively assassinated people who wanted us to truly be our best: two Kennedys, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and a King. So many were killed attempting to fulfill the promise of America that it was barely noticed when four black girls were blown up in a Southern church by Klansmen. Or when three activists, Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney were sacrificed for this elusive idea of fairness and freedom. Even in the years prior to its demise, America eviscerated 9 black people in a prayer meeting. America is responsible for all of the deaths directly and indirectly. In some instances, while America didn’t literally pull the trigger, through its behavior they approved it.
Only a very select few were allowed to eat at the table. When America allowed someone of African-American descent, the son of slaves to preside over the country, every attempt he made to balance the playing field for all of its children was blocked at every turn. There was no cooperation. Rather, there was unprecedented inaction and disrespect of the office while this brown gentleman sat in the Presidential chair.
America tried its best to survive, when natural disasters occurred she was present everywhere, anywhere in the world. She fed the poor and occasionally defended the right of others to sovereignty. She shared her secrets with friends and publicly sought to dispatch her enemies. America knew the difference between right and wrong. However, America allowed Capitalism to be the first and main concern and muddied the waters by keeping the masses “busy” with consumerism and entertainment distractions. By the time the masses knew what had occurred, it was too late.
America had a benign cancer that was present from its very inception. Despite aggressive treatment, the cancers of racism, sexism and xenophobia did spread. So much so that it became noticeable. On November 8, 2016, the cancer metastasized and spread to the vital organs of government, banking, world relations, our word meant nothing anymore as we violated treaties, withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, pissed off the Iranians and essentially denied our own treatment. Fracking went unchecked, and pipelines were built in so many locations that no water was left unpolluted.
Canada has offered to cremate the remains and there will be no viewing. I would like to respectfully pass the podium to the President of China, and to the President of Russia who are now in the back of the church, eating our lunch of Caviar, genetically modified rice and chilled Vodka. The Caliphate has sent their regrets in not being able to attend as they are in the middle of opening the Trump Syria Plaza Hotel.
Related, also by Franklin Madison:
True discourse demands that we be honest about how we got here and where we’d like to be.
Photo credit: Flickr