This Is Not My America


Three days ago I was laying on a trampoline, sipping on a beer, watching fireworks blast off above me while Macklemore played softly from my best friend’s phone. We talked about his new job, ate too many deviled eggs and grilled prawns, and listened to everyone around us celebrate 240 years of this place being an independent nation.

We were out because we were celebrating being American.

And now I’m refreshing Twitter. Waiting for the next name of someone who doesn’t deserve to be dead to become a hashtag. I’m furiously checking my phone to make sure my friends in Texas are okay, that they’re safe, that their loved ones are safe. I’m waiting for the inevitable fury of who to blame to blow up on social media and in the streets of my own city.

I’m tensely waiting for a battle to continue because I’m afraid it will never be over.

This is not my America.

This is not the America where I grew up so excited to wear those stupid Old Navy flag t-shirts everyone got in the 2000s and light off firecrackers with my dad. This is not the America that my great grandparents came to with dreams of being something more than a fisherman or a housewife. This is not the America that I studied in History class where people literally fought to keep it open and free and accepting and free and I said, “Wow that was important.”

This is not my America.

Instead of feeling like I’m in the land of the free and the home of the brave, I get to accept that I’m in the land where a white boy can literally plead guilty to raping a girl who could’ve died from alcohol poisoning, and be seen as some sort of victim because of his athleticism going to waste. I’m in the home of the nobody’s brave because we’re shooting people at traffic stops in front of their children based on nothing other than the color of their skin. I’m in the land of 12-year-olds playing in the park and being gunned down, but no one serves any time for his death. I’m in a place where people are turning to being a vigilante, because they see no other solution.

I’m in the home of a former congressman threatening the life of our President, and people on Twitter favoriting it and hashtagging it goals.

This is not my America.

This is supposed to be a melting pot, a place of opportunity, a super power. And maybe at one time it was. But today, it’s a place where a Presidential candidate can be blatantly anti-semitic, and get away with blaming the media for that assumption. It’s a place where when a woman is attacked, she’s asked to do the finger test to show how long her skirt was because she maybe earned it. It’s a place where buying a gun is easier than getting birth control.

It’s a place that has become a complete and total disaster.

It’s a place where you are literally not safe anywhere. You’re not safe walking home even if 30 people see you put your hands up, you’re not safe at school whether you’re 5 or in college, you’re not safe if you’re at a nightclub just trying to be you. It’s a place where we are so divided, there’s no visible solution and we’re all afraid.

This is not my America.

Three days ago I was wearing a baseball cap and joking around with my best friend about what our perfect Instagram would be for the day. We made fun of our obnoxiously millennial selves but still went on about our day, having fun and playing around on our day off from our regularly scheduled lives.

We were playing around, because it was our day to celebrate our country, and be proud to be Americans.

But I’m not proud. I’m looking around for this patriotism, this pride that I’m supposed to have and instead I’m coming up empty. I have no pride, no joy, and no excitement about anything that this country represents.

Because this isn’t my America.

I don’t know what this.

But whatever it is, I know I don’t want it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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