Make America Kind Again was my favorite poster slogan of every Women’s March.
We’ve had three and will have a fourth soon, January 18. I’ll be there and hope I see this sign again.
It’s a sign that maybe it will happen –America will be kind again.
It will be a place where we don’t put kids in cages
Or gouge people’s health care
Or ban Muslims from entering our country
Or kick transgender people out of the military
Or threaten voting rights for Blacks
Or remove registered voters from the polls
Or… fill in the blank
Make America kind again. Who are we?
What do we want? I think America is the
country where we want to know that every vote counts.
I’m not a politician.
I’m an artist, a writer, a theologian, an academic.
What I know looking at the black and brown and yellow and white faces
of my students in my California classroom, however, is
America is us. All over America, in every state, is us.
The poor. The rich. The multi-colored, the white.
The gay. The straight. The gender queer.
The undocumented. The documented. The sick. The well.
The landed. The renters. The homeless.
The well fed. The hungry.
We are everywhere. Who? Us.
Look around. People. Humans. Us.
I want all of us at the table. I want an America
that Jesus would have fed the loaves and fishes to. All of us
are so hungry for community. For a look in the eye from our neighbor that says,
I see you. How’s it going?
What do we really, really, want?
Oh, I want a trip to Iceland to see the Northern Lights.
And to Scotland to wait for the Loch Ness.
I want tenure. I want a best seller.
I want a house on the beach.
And I want a million followers on Twitter.
But what I want even more than that?
I want for less hungry people in the streets of Los Angeles.
I want public transportation around America that gets
people to jobs that they don’t hate,
where their work is respected because it
takes all of us to push this world forward
day by day.
Make America kind again. I want sick
people to be taken care of. And I want healthy
food for everyone. I want families to stay together and
I want borders open for those seeking asylum.
I want girls to believe in a future
where they can be president. I want sexual harassment
to be uncommon. I want the elderly to have
compassion and community and I want the world
to keep turning and for governments to understand
that sixteen-year old kids
are afraid of the world ending.
I want the planet to go on. Sunrise. Sunset. Season by season.
I want a just court
and voting rights for all.
And I want all these things much, much, more
than I ever want to see the Northern Lights which is what
I have always said is what I most want.
But, what I most want?
I want America.
I want America to be kind again.
December 25, 2019
From the ongoing on series, In These United States
Marie Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall (Routledge 2013). She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine.