I was never supposed to be American. When I was brought to this Country and bought in this Country, I was never intended to be more than property. I was nothing more than a means to an end. Freedom, equality, and justice were never intended to be mine. However, there were those amongst my ancestors who dared to dream despite the “daymares” that many of them were experiencing. Here’s the thing; that is my experience as an African American man. There are other unintentional Americans. Here is the list. The list includes women, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, and lastly poor whites. From my very limited understanding of women (the beauty and power of women seems infinite, so I would never dare to say that I understand them in totality), women were expected to be seen and not heard, admired and not respected, and loved because she is the backbone rather than the head, neck, shoulders, legs, arms, and strength that she really is. From the time I was young, little girls were taught to be good wives, and little boys were told to explore. The mere fact that women had to fight for the right to vote, equitable pay, equal treatment under the law, and not only respect, but also protection of the very things that make her a woman boldly illustrates that the woman is an unintentional American. Immigrants. The original settlers of this country were immigrants. Many of them came to this Country for religious freedom, new opportunities, and most of all freedoms that they had never experienced. America became known as the melting pot. Today, it seems that the very things that made this melting pot so wonderful are all of a sudden the very things that have are making this Country weak. That’s a lie! Immigration brings hope, strength, pride, unity, and a greater America. However, as long as immigrants are forced to fight for equal rights long after they have become American citizens, they are indeed unintentional Americans. The LGBTQ community. This Country loves to speak about love. We love to say things like, “God, family, friends, and Country are all that you need.” Love. We are seemingly told who to love, how to love, and when to love. However, there are those amongst us who have dared to be free enough to love on their own terms. They have gone against the grains of our socially accepted practices and boldly proclaimed to the world who they are and who they love. However, there are also those amongst us who say that their way of living is a sin against God. Here’s my question, if God is love and love is God, how can who you love be wrong? As long as members of the LGBTQ community have to fight for protection and equality under the law, they are unintentional Americans. Poor whites. I once wrote that hunger is hunger, pain is pain, joy is joy, and love is love. The fact of the matter is that poor whites are looking for the same things that most minorities are looking for; a means of providing for their families in the best way they possibly can. History teaches me that following the Civil War, there were those who seriously feared poor whites and former slaves uniting because they were afraid of what they could become together. Therefore, many poor whites were taught and told that it doesn’t matter how poor you are, at least you’re not Black. Today, there are those who still subscribe to this philosophy. As long as your politicians only visit you weeks before the election because they need your vote rather than your voice, you are an unintentional American. Today, it seems that the only intentional Americans are wealthy white males who seem to be impervious to rule of law, societal practices, and many forms of responsibility. It’s clear to me now; the law was never designed to protect the unintentional Americans. The government wasn’t developed to benefit the unintentional Americans. This entire systems seems rigged to work against the unintentional American. Because there are more of us at the bottom than there are at the top, I have a suggestion; lets make an intentional act and change America. We should only vote for those individuals that have shown us that they are worthy of our votes. We should demand our respect, equality, and freedom rather than request it. We should work together in order to ensure that America is great for all of us and not just some of us. We should begin to speak to one another with kindness and candor rather than cruelty and frankness. We should make this Country into the place we believed it was when we were children. Can’t you see, we may all be sitting in different seats, but we are clearly all on the same boat. Let’s make America something that it has never been; a place where there is truly liberty and justice for all…Patrick
As always, this week, do something to help someone else for no reason at all other than to make their lives better. Also, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us.