8 January 2021 – Alyssa Mages, CVO
I’m at a loss. Where have we gone?
I was planning to write about fear – what it means, its impact, how it permeates, and how to overcome it.
Then 6 January happened.
Shocking as it was, we shouldn’t have been surprised. Please don’t bother telling me that it’s the fault of ‘both sides’, we all know it most certainly was not. Ignorance, hatred, entitlement, white fragility, and a lack of basic decency got us here. These people chose power over principle, dollars over decency, control over compassion – the list is, sadly, endless.
The gross lack of morality, honesty, and integrity was and has been glaringly evident for the past five years…but it has always been there as an undercurrent. Not a new issue, nor a local problem. This has been ingrained systemically down to the very root of this nation. It still is. Now that it’s been brought into the open, it has spurred those of us with a conscience into action, woke us from our stupor of complacency, and demanded our attention.
Where were we?
Where have we gone since?
Why were we so quiet?
How did we allow this to happen?
It’s painfully simple – we didn’t look for it, didn’t root it out.
It has been interwoven into every fiber of this nation, and we were content to let the darkness stay where it was as long as it didn’t disrupt our day-to-day. We were against injustice, of course, but if it didn’t affect us, it mustn’t really be that big of a problem, right? How wrong we were. Our part of this mess is this, and it’s one we must own. We must deeply and truly atone for our deficiencies, and continue to learn, grow, and change to clean it, ourselves, and our infrastructure – up.
This has likely made some of you angry, and good – that means you’re paying attention. While I’m not here to evoke that response, if it’s present, there’s a reason – keep breathing, & stick with this – what you read may resonate.
A tough statement to read, but I’ve not been “Proud to be an American” for a very long time, even prior to this most recent display of immorality and ignorance. The “holier than thou” mentality and the overbearing presence of “We’re #1” has always, and continues to, sicken me. Honestly, we call ourselves Americans as if no one else has the right to use that term, and yet we are only a part of the North American continent. Let’s also not forget there are also 2 other Americas – Central & South.
We have and continue to degrade the indigenous peoples by first calling them Indians, then Native Americans without ever bothering to learn the names of their tribes and refusing to recognize that we are the ones who have truly stolen their land.
We have not been a beacon of light & hope for the world in a very, very long time – on the contrary, we are the ones who still have so much to learn from other great nations around the world, both what & what not to do. But that is the crux of the matter – we must learn and keep learning in order to not remain rigid in our thinking, our doing, our being.
I am very aware that I am writing from a place of privilege being a middle-class, cisgender, heterosexual, white woman. This is exactly WHY I am writing this. If I can step outside of my identifying characteristics as they do not define me, they describe me – then why can’t we all? Stop making any of this about us – those who have not ever known true injustice, discrimination, disparity, and the like. I hear you my feminist sisters, and I support you – there are unfortunately many similarities within these movements. Let’s stop looking at this as an either/or – we can tackle both, together.
It boggles the mind how complicated we make such simple concepts of respect and kindness. They are universal and are innately possessed by every living thing. Hatred is taught. Ignorance becomes a habit.
Stop lying. Period.
Don’t misquote, paraphrase, nor high-grade any religious tome to justify your atrocities.
Time is fleeting and is priceless – negating that money equals power.
Nothing and no one is absolute.
We only have one planet – quit denying climate change.
If everyone is right, then no one is.
Just because it’s the way it’s always been, doesn’t mean that’s how it should be.
I’m in this for the long haul – and by this I mean the journey to ensure that Black Lives Matter, Indigenous Peoples must be seen, heard & listened to, LGBTQIA rights are human rights, healthcare is not a privilege, a woman’s body is hers and no other’s, people are differently-abled, not disabled, our Earth is dying & it’s up to us to do all we can to intervene, our children – ALL of our children – deserve to be loved, feel safe, and be provided for, animals deserve our care & respect, and I’m not going to stand back, sit down, nor shut up.
Where have we gone? We never left. And to that end I:
- Will be there – angry, heartbroken, but energized.
- Want to be a part of what makes us all proud of the US – part of this continent, part of this world – again.
- Am putting my time & my money where my pen & my mouth are.
- Will continue to learn, to grow, to evolve – for the better.
Who’s with me?