Let’s Make America Great Again!

It’s been almost a week. A white supremacist will be his chief strategist. He promises to find a judge that will repeal Roe v. Wade. And wants Ben Carson to lead the Department of Education???
 Everyone has a theory of why this has happened, from die-hard Bernie supporters to the DNC.
 But for me, I just can’t swallow the fact that, no matter what, we’ve elected a racist, xenophobic, misogynistic bully.
 And whether you’re a lower-, upper-, or middle-class white person, your white privilege has put this man in office. Your white privilege allows you to ignore his horrific remarks and choose him, because his policies and his cabinet will not have a direct negative or dangerous impact on your life. Your white privilege allows you to be frustrated with wages, student loans, rising housing costs, and Obamacare to the extent that you would vote for a candidate so wholly unqualified that Obama has to spend extra time showing him what it’s like to actually lead the country. Your white privilege, in your rural communities, ginormous urban mansions, or sprawling suburban neighborhoods, protects you from ever experiencing what marginalized groups go through every day, whether it’s a risky bus ride or the line at the supermarket or a police car driving behind them.
 I am so ashamed of my race, my endlessly empowered and ignorant race.
 Will there ever be a time in history when we can use our white privilege to build each other up instead of tearing our country apart?
 I hope to God this is the last election in my lifetime won by white privilege. For the sake of any possibility of a free and loving country whose doorstep reads,
 “Give me your tired, your poor,
 Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
 The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
 Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
 I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
 Let us use this election to open that golden door. To find those among us who, no matter our circumstances, could never vote for such a man. Let us join together and fight the good fight and make America the promised land it was meant to be.
 Let us win. Every man, woman, and child. Every race, religion, and sexual orientation. Let us tear down the wall of white privilege and build bridges for a better tomorrow.
 Let us make America great again. It begins with taking a long, hard look at ourselves, admitting our inadequacies, and promising to never, ever, let this happen again.
 Are you with me?

Case of the Mondays

because it’s Monday
 the alarm sucks, kids are bored,
 and fall won’t happen–
 the classroom burns hot
 from a boiler turned on
 two weeks too early
 and everyone thinks
 it’s a holiday today,
 so here i sit. wait
 at the Jiffy Lube
 with the rest of the world
 panning for oil.
 this is white privilege.
 this is American life.
 black gold that burns all.

Day Fourteen, Road Trip 2016

Girl Scout Headquarters
 mixed with colonial wealth
 (built on the slaves’ backs)

sometimes beauty’s marred
 history’s hard to swallow
 amid perfect squares

yet we walk through it
 splashing, playing giant chess,
 our steps going on

pieces of our past
 even when they’re earned with blood
 mark a clear future:
 we can absorb this,
 take pics, eat gator, and grin,
 hoping we’ve moved on
 (though the shadows know
 of King Cotton, oppressed girls,
 Sherman’s burning march)

we can’t have it all
 the vacation, family… peace
 without the whole truth

we can just love them
 hope they never see the dark
 (only the beauty)

Day Four, Road Trip 2016

on a perfect day
 with music following us
 on every corner
 i sometimes get trapped
 in thoughts of poverty, loss
 (also on corners)
 my girls all grinning
 taking pics and buying gifts–
 the perfect white life
 yet anger jumps out
 from car windows and bar doors,
 a cruel reminder:
 we’re not all equal.
 some of us can ride trolleys,
 take month-long road trips.
 others beg for change
 with thin plastic drinking cups
 that they’ll fill later
 in all this joy: grief.
 vacations are like heaven
 mixed with sorrow