I hate the phrase, after a national tragedy, an horrible political faux pas, or in the face of people behaving badly in public spaces – at those times, I especially hate the phrase, “this isn’t who we are.” I know that people say it to distance themselves from something, but it makes as much sense as looking at a doughy abdomen or hammertoes and saying, “this isn’t who my body is.” Um, yes… Yes, it is. Your spare tire and crooked toes are a part of the whole, and even the bits of us that we don’t like are still… us.
So, how do we divorce ourselves from the truth of ourselves? We don’t. We own up, and we do better. That’s really the only option open to us, isn’t it? If we’re to be true to ourselves?
“you may experience feelings of momentary discomfort”
“This is not who we are,” good souls profess.
“This brief discomfort heralds changing views.”
The dream, America, is dispossessed.
And politicians wallow in the mess
Eyes rolling wild, while looking for their cues —
“This is not who we are.” Good souls profess
To understand the needs of the oppressed,
Who are not newly pressured, but eschew
The “dream America.” We, dispossessed.
“Just rhetoric and chatter,” pundits stress.
“A bigot’s dreams could never here come true.”
This IS. Not who we are? Good souls, profess!
Resist. Support, with dogged faithfulness
Those who, with courage march. We must push through
the dream and wake. Our country, in distress.
Distracted by your grieving? Reassess
The help you gave when this did not touch you…
This. Is. Not. Who. We. Are. Good souls, protect
The dreamer, wakening, and dispossessed.