5.3
November 20, 2018

What the f*ck is happening to my beautiful America?

A couple of weeks ago, I finally felt like I had some hope.

A welcome bit of sunshine after two straight years of what can only be described as hellish darkness.

Every day, something horrendous or jaw-dropping about the Trump administration continues to hit the airwaves. The latest news cycle spins and beats it to oblivion until the next big story comes along. What did he say now? What are they doing now? Who’s being indicted now?

What the f*ck is happening to my beautiful American democracy, the one I was lucky to be born into and the one I’ve signed up for now?

When it was clear on November 6th that the midterms had mercifully delivered the House, there was something real and relevant to celebrate. Resistance works! Democracy works! The pendulum, like all good and decent pendulums, swung back to favor we, the people, and some balancing changes would hopefully follow.

Millions of us made our voices heard, and it seemed as though the bleeding would surely stop—or at least slow to a trickle.

But the truth is, here in America, the bleeding doesn’t stop.

The Thousand Oaks mass shooting sent that damn pendulum swinging right back toward despair. The horrible truth it carries is that we, the people, can resist and persist all we want—but we just can’t seem to tackle guns.

The “gun issue” is killing our country. It’s killing our spirit. It’s killing our liberties. It’s killing our sense of safety and trust within our communities. It’s killing our moral compass. It’s literally killing us all, one by one, 12 by 12, day in and day out. At the time of this last mass shooting, we tallied 307 shootings in 311 days. Yes, right here in the land of the “free.”

And so the aftermath sequence continues. First, devastation. Then more crying. More hollow words from our elected leaders. More empty sorrow. More funerals. More furrowed brows. More innocence lost.

Always more thoughts and prayers.

I firmly believe that we, as a nation, should no longer be allowed to offer thoughts and prayers unless we, as a nation, push, and march, and shout, and sign petitions, and vote, and demand universal gun law and gun culture reform from those we elect. In my opinion, thoughts and prayers are an insult at this point.

But, in saying that, I also steadfastly believe that what actually makes America great is our capacity for hope. Hope is what shines through everything. Despite the flying bullets, the tears, the fears, and the ever-switching gears, despite the swinging pendulum—we must continue to hope.

Hope is the thing that fights.

Hope is a reporter who stands up and bravely asks important questions in the face of vicious, cornered, animal aggression.

Hope is the immigrant giving birth amid a caravan crossing a continent, seeking asylum.

Hope is more than 100 women, including those who represent marginalized minorities, being elected to serve in Congress.

Hope is in our actively engaged youth and the energy and diversity they bring to the table of negotiation.

Hope is the first openly gay man becoming a Governor.

Hope is Bob Mueller and countless mobilized American protesters, working to protect a fruit bearing investigation.

Hope is millions of Americans calling out bigotry and hatred. Hope is when we film it for the whole world to see, exposing the raw and real truths abundant in our society.

Hope is in the streaming backlash of Sarah Sander’s published propaganda lie.

Hope is indeed the relentless “idea” that we, the people, are better than this.

Don’t let anyone tell you the gun issue will never change, and that it’s a “hopeless cause. Every shooting in America is a shot fired for a call to action on this issue.

To me, and many others, hope is the only thing that ever lingers in the ring. It’s the thing that doesn’t give up.

Hope is a beating, angry, winged-thing that fights for life. It’s a flapping, freedom-singing thing that fights for love.

It fights for our collective American Dream of peace, prosperity, and equality and it soars across the heavens high above.

We can reach it. But, first we must look up.

~

Kimberly Valzania

author: Kimberly Valzania

Image: Rajbir Singh/Flickr

Editor: Naomi Boshari

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