In America, Some Lives Matter, and Some Do Not!
In the United States of America, not all lives equally matter to some people. There are individuals in this country who have the power and resources to ruin, destroy, and protect (some) lives. While some American citizens can boldly sing America, others struggle to even understand what it means to be an American citizen in “this land where life is cold and joy is wrong.”
The (intentional) poisoning of the public water supply or reservoir–not the preservation of life–in the city of Flint, Michigan, is the most transparent example of the American life characterized by social evil, social alienation, and (intentional) mass social death. For some people, it would be an exaggeration to call this historic act in Flint water supply terrorism?
We are thirsty for true justice, equal citizenship, and genuine equality in “Our Land.” In the United States, some lives matter, and others do not. This is not a new issue. Since its foundation, the United States government, (in fact, every subsequent administration) has struggled to promote the dignity of all people and protect all lives. Every administration has failed on this account. One of the pivotal issues in America in the twenty-first century is/remains the question and meaning of citizenship and equality for all. It is in fact an old question. Please, allow me to close this brief reflection with a poem by Langston Hughes, in which the poet envisions a new American life characterized by compassionate love, kindness, brotherhood, happiness, and collective destiny.
“Our Land” by Langston Hughes
Poem for a Decorative Panel
We should have a land of sun,
Of gorgeous sun,
And a land of fragrant water
Where the twilight
Is a soft bandanna handkerchief
Of rose and gold,
And not this land where life is cold.
We should have a land of trees,
Of tall thick trees
Bowed down with chattering parrots
Brilliant as the day,
And not this land where birds are grey.
Ah, we should have a land of joy,
Of love and joy and wine and song,
And not this land where joy is wrong.
Oh, sweet away!
Ah, my beloved one, away!