A More Perfect Union
Pledging allegiance to the State doesn't create a more perfect union; relationships do!
Now that Independence Day has passed, I’ve been thinking about how we can become a more perfect Union? July 4, 1776 was an unfulfilled promissory note by those who had fled England. As we’ve seen over the past several months, each of our relationships to Whiteness complicates our ability to become that perfected Union that the Declaration of Independence hinted at. How do we make right on that unfulfilled promise? How do we look to the margins of the margins and invite their voices into this sphere of becoming a more perfect Union and balance the tables, so that all are counted as good in a disenfranchised Union that is still trying to find its footing? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but my spirit of wondering I hope encourages you, the reader, to ask similar questions.
If the margins of the margins have been crying out, what will it take for us to hear them in a way that can make the necessary changes that actually result in the material changes our Union so desperately needs? Cries for Defunding the Police, Abolishing ICE and Prisons all are in one refrain at this moment, but what do to actually make the changes that we need? Do we have the capacity to listen to each other and actually hear the pain that we each embody? Are we in touch with the suffering that surrounds us? From those who are without walls and homes to those who are in search for their next fix. Can we hear one another into speech without judgement and with a heart of compassion, so that we can become the healing of the wounds?
It was Frederick Douglass who offered us so many thoughts about progress and freedom. I want to offer them here, so that we can keep our eye on what so many were fighting for before this current iteration of struggle emerged, adapted, and became what it is today. One of my favorite quotes from Douglass is “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” We must keep moving forward, inciting a revolution of values. He calls us to account once more with this biting quote: “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.” How can we tend to the gardens of our own life and make a way where there is no way? And, once again, “America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.” Can we see a future out of this fragile state of democracy and into a flourishing more perfect Union? And, finally “I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.” It’s time to get our hands dirty, y’all! We won’t be who we say we are until we get our hands and feet dirty in this Union called the United States of America. Do we have that imagination for the Union that we want? May we be the healing of the wounds. Ashé.