What shall we say that we have learned about America?  At some point in our educational journey, we have taken courses in civics, government and American history.  We have read the words of her founding fathers and cited the significant founding documents that theoretically make America unique among the nations of the world.

But if we’re paying attention, what we’re taught about America doesn’t square with the stark, barren reality of America.

So I offer up, for serious consideration, conversation, contemplation and critical dialogue, the following seven-stanza free-from verse, “A.M.E.R.I.C.A.DOT.COM”:

America.  What have I learned about America?  First of all let me say that I love America and love being an American citizen.  And because I love America – or at least the promise of America – and presumably an American descended from many generations of my African ancestors who were brought here some 398 years ago today, born here and enslaved here, I reserve the right to opine upon and critically examine my experience of America.  Or perhaps more accurately, I will relay what America has shown me about itself?  It’s all been spelled out for me and for all of us to see:

A is for…

America, as in America shall vigorously defend and protect its citizens from terrorism from abroad, while vigorously defending homegrown White supremacist domestic terrorism against its own citizens and especially people of color.

M is for…

Money – lots of it.  For the possessor of it shall determine who really holds the power in this republic and government which is purportedly by the people, for the people and to the people.  

E stands for…

Empathy, rather the lack of it.  The commonwelfare – especially for the least of us - has been replaced by empty rhetoric, evaporating promises and pious posturing to penalize the poor for their poverty!

R stands for…

Racism and Religion.  Racism is the religion and foundation of this nation, its very DNA; it’s the cancer that keeps metastasizing and morphing into myriad forms of marginalization and disenfranchisement of its disadvantaged and under-privileged.

I is for…

Institutionalized discrimination and mass incarceration which keeps reifying classism and reinventing enslavement; ensures generational poverty and growing inequality; incarcerates more of its citizens than any country in the world; and keeps America from fulfilling its original promise of one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

C stands for the…

Constitutional principles which guided the establishment of this republic, which are denied to its citizens of color, its citizens of other faiths, its LGBTQ citizens, and its immigrants seeking sanctuary, jeopardizing the rights of all in the long run.

And, last but not least of all, as long as any one of American citizens’ rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;” as long as any one citizen is denied justice, due process, equity, and equal protection under the law; as long as any one American is not free to choose their religion, exercise free speech, and choose whom they love, none of us is free in America!

That's why we Americans whose ancestors actually built this country for free, believe in fighting so hard for one another.  We believe in the promise of America, despite its obvious hypocrisy and problematic relationship to its racist past and present.  So fight we must, and fight earnestly while we still can, to ensure that the A.M.E.R.I.C.A DOT COM becomes America the great with freedom and justice for ALL, at last!

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