I want to be patriotic. I want to say the pledge of allegiance in a strong voice. I want to pledge my allegiance knowing that I can not lose this country, these values, this brotherhood, this opportunity. I want to see an American flag and see the people supported by a system, not the people supporting a system.
But I don’t believe we have that.
I’ve watched to many Americans suffer. I’ve watched the poor go off to war because they need the money, and then be abandoned. I’ve seen the economic system chew up the people in the gears of business, leaving only the remains of the person breathing without any more life in their heart. I’ve watched profit trump people for all my days. I’ve watched mansions built instead of hospitals. Today’s America makes me feel like I need to pay rent to walk outside of where I need to pay rent to be inside.
I am not naive. I understand how money can create a natural influence. But I am not going to accept that I am supposed to keep my country this way. It must exist as an equal share for all of us. I do not love this country so much that I cannot change it for the better. I believe in We The People. I believe in what I thought my country was when I was a kid.
I am more concerned with the teachers being paid rather than stockbrokers.
I have grown tired of the oppression, tired of trying to fit into an America that was never supposed to be. An America that looks down on me. Even though it is me, my family, my neighbors, my coworkers that are these United States. Mr President, don’t tell me what the state of the Union is – ask me to tell you.
Just give me liberty, cause this feels like death. Give me freedom, from Thomas Paine to Malcolm X. I have spent my life living in a country that protects its corporations more than it protects its people. I’m kicked out of private property because its private, and then I’m kicked out of public property cause it public. Turns out they don’t think any part of this country is mine.We have long known that this country has slipped through our fingers.
No, I don’t feel free. No, I don’t feel equal. We can’t even keep the banks from faking foreclosures. We can’t close our accounts at Bank of America. We can’t keep our jobs there either. I feel like a bolt in a machine. I feel like the country is devoted to me as little as possible. I haven’t seen my government do anything but beg for donations. We can predict who’s going to win the election based on donations, not ideas.
I want a system that respects work over birth class. I want a country that lets the rich be rich, but also expects them to give back to the people. Remove the plague of politicians speaking of sacrifice by our troops, while not even asking the rich to be taxed as much as those who fight the wars. I don’t even remember the last war I felt was protecting me.
These protests may just work. They may just create something new and more equal. But even if they don’t, I’d rather fail at being free than succeed at staying a robot. The laws must lean towards my right to effect change. The government must know that my life is as important as a corporations future. We want work and freedom. Our government must make that the priority. Our government must make wall street a service to that priority.
I want to end this feeling of not belonging, this feeling of not being important. I want to spray paint tomorrows dreams over the walls of today’s reality. I want 9.1 percent of America being unemployed to mean the super rich don’t make as much as they did when we were employed. If the super rich want profits, they must bring profit to us. Success because of us, not despite of us.
Today it is a dream, but I’ve got my spray paint in hand.
Abrahim Appel studied Journalism and Ethnic studies at Cal State Fullerton in Southern California. He is currently reporting from Mexico City where he spends his nights agreeing with Mexicans that he too does not understand De Estados Unidos. He assures the police that he does not condone graffiti – unless it’s really good.