My Fellow Americans,
I wanted to take a moment to wish you a very Happy and safe 4th of July —
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The United States is truly a remarkable place to live — A land of freedom, opportunity, and chasing dreams. None of these things would be possible without the brave men and women that have put their lives on the line to safeguard these rights over the years — Today, above all else, I honor and thank them for their service.
Admittedly though, this Patriot is finding it a bit difficult to whole-heartedly celebrate — Mostly because I genuinely fear the dangerous direction in which our Country is headed. It seems that somehow we’ve let radical hatred, divisive political rhetoric, fake news, fear, greed, and ego take the driver’s seat and that to me is NOT who we are — NOT even close!
I’ve made two observations recently:
- Our currency reads, “In God We Trust”.
- When a President concludes a speech they end it with, “God Bless America”.
Quite frankly, I’d like to meet and have a serious chat with this “God” that we’ve put so much trust in and frequently call upon to bless our Nation.
Why, you ask?
Mostly because I’m not sure what God or group of God loving people could actually allow these things to happen in our country —
- More than 554,000 people are homeless in The United States (US Department of Housing and Urban Development 2017).
- A 700B Wall Street Bailout because of unchecked, unregulated, and unhealthy greed. Meanwhile Mainstreet continues to struggle while 3000 financial sector lobbyists continue to buy votes in 2018. Congress’s inability to get together and finally enact campaign finance reform and to take money out of politics is evidence of this challenge being systemic — establishment politicians thriving on the current system are not likely to change it (Inside Job Film).
- 2.3M people are incarcerated across the United States (highest rate in the world) and 400,000 of them are there simply because they are poor (PrisonPolicy.org). African Americans are 3.73 x more likely to be arrested for marijuana usage even though usage is about the same in white communities (NAACP).
- 50+ Billion Dollars a year are being wasted on the failed “War on Drugs” (www.drugpolicy.org).
- 7,615 reported Hate Crime Victims in 2016 — 4,426 were race based, 1,584 were religious based, 1,255 were sexual orientation based. 2,220 were anti-black, 909 were anti-white, 862 were anti-jewish, 388 were anti-islamic, 787 were anti-gay, and 111 were anti-gender identity.
- The three richest Americans have the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the U.S. population. Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and legendary investor Warren Buffett are the three Americans whose combined wealth matches that of the poorest 160 million Americans — about $250 billion. Oxfam said the massive inequality is being driven by factors that include excessive financial returns to company owners and shareholders at the expense of ordinary workers and the rest of the economy; the ability of rich individuals and corporations to use tax havens that allow them to evade or shield trillions of dollars from tax authorities; public policy that permits market conditions that push down wages and infringe on labor rights; and extreme wealth that is inherited, not earned. (Oxfam Reports).
- The Institute for Policy Studies recent report The Road to Zero Wealth: How the Racial Divide is Hollowing Out the America’s Middle Class (RZW) showed that between 1983 and 2013, the wealth of the median black household declined 75 percent (from $6,800 to $1,700), and the median Latino household declined 50 percent (from $4,000 to $2,000). At the same time, wealth for the median white household increased 14 percent from $102,000 to $116,800.
- 44M Americans are uninsured and another 38M are under-insured (PBS Healthcare Crisis).
- The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.
- America’s infrastructure is desperately in need of investment, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers’. The ASCE estimates the US needs to spend some $4.5 trillion by 2025 to fix the country’s roads, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure. Meanwhile, the NFL is a 14 B industry (as of 2016), and has over the last 20 years found a way through financial loop-holes to take 7 B in tax-payer money to build stadiums (Watchdog.org). “Tax-exempt municipal bonds are typically reserved for public-use projects such as bridges, water systems, and other infrastructure,” Michael Sargent, an infrastructure expert at The Heritage Foundation, wrote for The Daily Signal. “Yet because of a loophole in the tax code, private-use stadiums can take advantage of this tax break, and have done so prolifically.”
- “47 percent of U.S. workers have a high probability of seeing their jobs automated over the next 20 years.” Oxford University researchers Carl Frey and Michael Osborne claim that technology will transform many sectors of life. They studied 702 occupational groupings.
- There have been 221 school shooting incidents since 1999 – 141 deaths and 287 others injured (Washington Post).
- The Justice Department and border authorities began prosecuting every adult who crossed the southwest border illegally in May 2018, causing more than 2,300 children to be separated from their parents.
- An estimated 12.6 million deaths each year (globally) are attributable to unhealthy environments – nearly one in four of total global deaths. Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change and ultraviolet radiation, contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries.
- It’s easy to throw something in a trash can. We don’t usually think about our local landfills unless complaining about the smell when we drive by them, but the average person generates 4.6 pounds of trash per day (National Geographic). When waste is in the ocean, the ocean dwellers mistake it for food or get tangled up in it. When waste is disposed of via burning or nuclear, it emits hazardous toxins in the air, which people breathe in. People can limit this crisis by reducing the amount of waste. By choosing to use products that can be recycled or placed in a compost pile, every household can reduce their waste.
- The 2017 drought in California, and the fact that Flint, Michigan hasn’t had clean water in nearly four years, serves as the perfect example to show us that water scarcity and pollution isn’t just a problem everywhere else — it’s a problem here at home too. Like the Earth, your body is made up of a lot of water, too. Both land and your body need clean water to survive (Schooled by Science).
- According to the World Economic Forum Report, The U.S. slipped four spots to 49th out of 144 countries when it comes to gender equality. It now ranks behind countries including the United Kingdom (15th), Australia (35th) and Bangladesh (47th). Back in 2006, the U.S. was in the 23rd spot.
I could go on, but the reason for my writing this message is NOT to simply point out the wrongs of The United States, but rather to inspire a CALL TO ACTION:
Instead of trusting in God or waiting on God to bless us, let’s take matters into our own hands.
The time is NOW to reflect upon the ideals that were set forth by our founding fathers, to practice what we preach, and to celebrate our diversity. We cannot continue to lead the free world and have an expectation to thrive if we stubbornly remain divided into Red & Blue States — We are THE UNITED STATES. Let’s not wait for another 9/11 to happen, to remember this.
The time is NOW to start going into conversations with the intention to respectfully listen, to share and receive valuable information, and to cross the aisles to find purple solutions. Yes, we may have diverse needs and differing opinions on how to best preserve and perfect our Union, but at the end of the day — We are on the same team! Fear, ego, and greed do not have a place at the dinner table in our homes nor should they be afforded a place in our Government.
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
The power is THE PEOPLE’s.
It has always been THE PEOPLE’s.
It always will be THE PEOPLE’s.
THE PEOPLE’s REVOLUTION is upon us, but it does not have to be violent or bloody. We can choose to lead with love and intelligence and RISE-UP together like a Phoenix from the ashes — Stronger, smarter, and more unified than ever before.
I believe in US,