These United States

This morning I was setting in the car at Dunkin Donuts, drinking my coffee, and thinking about how I need to be at home finishing my projects to sell before winter comes and it’s time to turn the gas on. But I needed to write for a minute. Because of the feeling I had when  I looked around at this blessed life we call America.

Everytime I see or have an interaction with somebody who has Down Syndrome, I just feel this calling on my heart to adopt a child that’s been given away because someone either couldn’t care for them or didn’t want to care for them because they were born with Downs. I mean, there is no joy in life quite like what can be experienced through having any interaction with someone with Down Syndrome. The joy in their hearts and spirit is just almost indescribable. And I set there with tears in my eyes watching this champion of life come out with his mom and his car keys, and I always go back to Donald Trump mocking the New York Times reporter on that stage. And it fills me with anger. Because bullies always pick on the weakest person. What Donald Trump failed to realize is how much stronger those with disabilities are than he will ever be.

That conversation last night was so infuriating, I seriously almost threw my cup of coffee at this lady.
To watch someone who claims to have a family member who is disabled defend the actions of Donald Trump — it’s just sickening.  Because there’s no excuse other than it’s rooted in race. If you sit there and say you have a sister who is physically disabled and then you make excuses for a presidential candidate that mocks people like your sister — simply because Donald Trump was outwitted by a man who walked a little different than he  did — there’s no other description for that, no other excuse for that, other than you are a racist white girl who likes what Trump has to say about Mexicans and black people so much that you’re willing to overlook his very clear and deliberate mimicking of someone with a handicap. You don’t have to like Hillary Clinton, but to go so far as to casually dismiss Donald Trump’s actions is unthinkable.

As I’m sitting there a little man walking in the coffee shop hollers at me, and he looks like my Pop except he’s carrying a book like my Uncle Chunky. And I recognize him.  He comes there everyday to drink coffee and read.  He hollered at me and said, “I like that Hillary sticker on the back of your car.  Did you see mine?”

And I just felt my heart smile.

“Yes, sir!” I called. “I saw your Hillary and your Obama one too. You’re my kind of people!”

The fact that he drives a Ford doesn’t hurt.

My heart was simply overjoyed. Seeing that young man with Down Syndrome with his mom, driving. Knowing it took every bit of nurturing that she gave him and every bit of belief and faith that she had in him when some people would have said you can’t, you never will.  And then seeing my Democratic buddy. I was happy, but sad. I just don’t know happened to our country. What happened to politics in this country. Why the division and  the rhetoric that you hear coming out of the anger in this most divisive of American elections is so fear-laden. When it couldn’t be further from the truth. We are in a better position than any other nation on Earth right now. The idea that we’re about to fold, or that nobody is afraid of or in awe of our military or country is just a scare tactic.

As I watched that young man get in his little Ford Ranger with his Mom and put it in drive, I looked through the window at my elderly friend drinking his coffee and reading a little bit of his political book, and I saw generations of Americans.  Young, old.  Black, white. Rich, poor.  Disabled or “normal”  — whatever the hell that is. And that’s the America I know. That’s the America I believe in.  The America public servants like Hillary Clinton dedicate their life to believing in. I can’t imagine, cannot fathom, the idea of getting behind the political prescription alleging to cure the diagnosis of America being a rapidly sinking shithole.

Do we have problems? Of course. Are we a dumpster fire where you’ll get raped by Mexicans, black people have no jobs or education and can’t walk down the street without getting shot —  because, you know, like there aren’t black people who live in the country and farm — and where we are vastly spinning into an oblivion of nothingness and despair and the only man that can save us is the great Donald J Trump alone?

Give me a break! 

The America Tump talks about is not the country I know.  Because the spirit of the American people is there everyday and it is tireless, even in the midst of the most divisive and ugly presidential campaign in American history. 

I see you, America.  I see your spirit.  I see your heart.  I see men like my granddaddy who worked at a Ford plant for decades so his granddaughter could fear S-words on the land he plowed, turn her nose up at the creek, lecture him about the cholesterol and dangers of eating the red meat of the cattle he sold and then gave us the cash, and sit back and read books.

The factory workers in Michigan, the coal miners in West Virginia, the bean farmers in Iowa, and the investment bankers in Charlotte. Everybody across America contributes to the fabric of who we are and it doesn’t stop with being white. I like cornbread and Yankee goulash as much as I like fried catfish and Mexican food. It’s the diversity of America that makes us so special. And it’s the goodness of who we are that makes us a superpower. If we lose that, what have we got?

Trump’s “America First” slogan was specifically derived from the same slogan used in World War II by the Americans who didn’t believe we should interfere with the Holocaust. Their descendants are likely the same ones who don’t believe that we should help Syrian refugees now. If America loses her way, if America loses her soul, if America loses her backbone,  if America loses her dignity, we won’t just be NOT great, we will be lost. Hopelessly.

Hopelessly. And that’s something America has never been. From the time Alexander Hamilton argued with John Adams, we have always known who and what we are and it’s very clear in those documents that our founding fathers sat down for us to govern and guide this great nation.

Some of us long for a time where politics resembled Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan. And a time when friendships were formed by men like the irreplaceable HW Bush and the man who defeated him,  Bill Clinton. Poppy Bush oozes goodness into everything he touches. It is possible to get back there again. To a time when we have more hugs between people like Michelle Obama and George W Bush. A time when you didn’t have to hate somebody just to disagree with them. But it starts with telling somebody like Donald Trump that his voice — his meanness, his cowardice, his gutter gab  — does not represent the majority of us.

And it never will. Not in these United States.

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