Oh America, you celebrate better than most. But why must you always celebrate with your blinders on? Why must you celebrate the end to the “race wars” with a nasty kick at the queers? Why must you speak of toil while keeping the toilers at bay?
I’m confused, America. I want to attend your parties but I smell of horseshit and I wouldn’t be allowed in. Besides, I can’t stop thinking about the servers at your parties. How do they feel about your $200 million inauguration? Would you like my dignity with that?, they ask.
I want you to think about class. I want you to wonder why it takes a billion dollars to win the presidency. I want you to wonder why Steven Spielberg and not Cindy Sheehan gets a seat at your party.
I want to believe. I want to say, “Yes, we can.”
I want to cry with you, America, when you feel like you’ve reached the top step. But I see many, many more steps to come. And so I cry for the 40 million of us with no health insurance. Or for the 3 million of us who lost our jobs recently. Or for the soldiers like Vermont’s own, Thomas Hermann, who ran for Congress – unsuccessfully – to really (truly) stop the war but found out last week that he’s being called back to serve yet another tour in Iraq under Obama’s army.
I want to believe, America. I’d like to celebrate. I’d like to wear the proud smile of those who pretend they’ve crossed the finish line of democracy but I can’t be fooled. For it is only the finish line of privilege that they’ve crossed. They have won, for sure. But we have lost. For we have no insurance. We have no jobs. We have no economic equality. And we have no tickets to the glittering Inaugural Balls.
America, I want you to listen to all of Martin Luther King’s speeches. He was making demands. He was righteously angry. He was right.
Listen to his words:
“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.”
And if “amen” can be said to anyone or anything, it is not to the Rick Warrens and his homophobic rants in the name of the Jesus in his mind, it is to the words of the people who have truly risked something, fought for something, and denied themselves something so that those with nothing had a seat at the table of basic human dignity.
This is no time to celebrate, America. This is a time to push forward with all our might. And to reject false prophets. And to demand what is truly ours: Dignity. Truth. And Happiness. For all, not just those who can afford it or a seat next to it.
Oh yes, I have a dream, too, America. And it’s all about a victory in our next, glorious war: The War on Class.
Ready. Aim. Organize.