This poem was written as much from despair as hope, I think. As we move toward the final stretch before election day, I shudder to think that things usually get much more ugly during this time period. I needed to remind myself what kind of America I believe in. And I do believe, with all my heart, that every American matters and that we are above the back-and-forth nonsense we’ve seen these last weeks and months. We are voting as much about our way of life, about our hope for the future, and about our belief or disbelief in the value of equality this election season, as we are any other issue even if we don’t realize it. If we truly believe that all people are equal, now is the time to prove it.
This is my America, too:
This place where humans are just humans,
where any random label is the face of someone
who can turn a page in history and see the rest of us
changed, not by force or fear but by turning
our eyes and ears toward experiences we could not have.
This place where deserts and mountains,
forests and plains can mold and shape values
as much the same as different, three thousand miles
apart. This place where patriotism comes in myriad
forms—the soldiers, the protestors, the singers,
the teachers, the children, and the seniors who pass
belief in We the People on to each other like the gift
that freedom is. This is my America. This place
where one factioned fraction of the populace cannot make
us any less free, because together we are the people
and the voice that protects our people and our voice,
our children and our choice to live as we see fit-
including every set and subset of the values
that make this country great. Small town,
big city, educated and un-, we are strongest
when we stop seeking to divide and conquer,
when we compromise and honor
diversity and truth. This is the America I believed in
in my youth, where the dream was not to force
one singular point of view, but to practice the ideal
that every person counts, that every voice can
be heard, that every American is an American first.
Copyright 2008, Larina Warnock.