It is not the presidents, governors, nor mayors.
It is not the ministers, rabbis, nor imams.
Not the attorneys, judges, nor the police.
It is not the corporate chieftains nor bankers
who will decide our destiny.
It is the rest of us. It is you. It is me. It is us.
We are black, brown and white,
yet we all claim the red, white, and blue.
We know how to be thoughtful and caring;
we can sing in harmony in church on Sundays.
But our better angels yield to dark demons
as brotherly love turns to hate on Mondays.
We have come to believe our privileges are rights
while entitlement courses through our veins.
We feel we are worthy simply because we exist;
not because we did the work and earned our broth;
not because we take responsibility for the greater good;
for we are drunk on selfies and greed and sloth.
Covid-19 revealed many cracks in our armor
as our exceptionalism died in the darkness of deceit.
Our willpower, once flexed, has become flaccid
diminished by our pettiness and our timidity.
New rivals snarl and rise like circling sharks
as we hemorrhage our virtue and our dignity.
Is this who we are?
Is this us?
Is this the America we want to be?
Who we are is up to us; it is in our hands.
Our heritage commands us to preserve the Dream.
As our politicians work hard to serve themselves,
it is up to us to save our fragile democracy.
We know the difference between right and wrong,
if only we could subdue duplicitous hypocrisy.
Today, we must confront ourselves
lest Independence Day loses all of its meaning.
It is not the Putins or Xis or Khameneis
who we must defeat to preserve our power.
It is the Garcias and Jacksons and Johnsons
who we must unite in this solemn hour.
“We the People” saved the world from tyranny,
now the world is begging us to save ourselves.
We know how to harness the brilliance of diversity.
Big minds from many places with dreams to match.
We can re-light that shining city on the hill
that beckons the world with sincere dispatch.
We must stop shaking fists and start shaking hands.
We must stop pushing down and start lifting up.
We must assure that the gates to that shining city
are open to anyone with the strength to climb its stairs.
We must summon the will of our ancestors
who never flinched—never faltered—when facing despair.
Climb aboard the American train to freedom;
the ride is not free and the work is daunting.
But it is our turn to put America back on track;
it is our duty to preserve Abe’s “best hope of earth.”
When we hold our children and look into their eyes,
will they look back and say we proved our worth?
We are a conundrum—we Americans—
bewildering to both friends and enemies.
We are the dream and we are the nightmare.
We are the righteous and we are the wrong.
We are the rich and we are the poor.
We are the strong and we are the weak.
We are the joyous and we are the forlorn.
We are the curse, but we are also the hope.
We are Americans.
Beware, here we come.
It is you. It is me. It is us.