Are We There Yet?
“Are we there yet?” My grandparents lived some distance away when I was a child. Trips to see them took hours on narrow curvy roads, punctuated by my plaintive wail. Flash forward 25 years, and my own children were asking the same question in the same wail as we traveled. I find myself asking yet again, post-election.
I hardly remember my strategy for choosing among candidates at age 18. I was not politically astute, minimally informed on equity, and newly aware of feminist issues. But I knew voting was important. There is always hope our elected officials will win and fulfill their campaign promises. There's room for optimism that an election can effect change, but we retain a personal responsibility to stay informed and astute. Elected officials must be held accountable, replaced in the next election cycle as necessary.
So what do we want? We want security and health for ourselves and those we love. We want our children to be able to be self-supporting with fulfilling and long lives. When we are wronged, we want avenues to justice and redress. We want for freedom of / from religion, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The United States of America was founded on a great notion of self governance and freedom, but only for a select few.There was a mindset of manifest destiny with wide open spaces and unlimited resources. But a blind eye was turned to the people living there in systems and ways long established. Stolen humanity was ripped from the African continent, stripped of identity, stripped of human rights, and forced to build for the ruling class. Both indigenous and enslaved populations were viewed as less than human to allow for their less than humane treatment.
Even as enslaved people have been freed from one form of slavery, conditions have continually been put in place to ensure them fighting an uphill battle. The indigenous population has been displaced repeatedly and forcibly to steal land and resources, while stripping native culture. Many individuals succeed against all obstacles, but there is not yet equal opportunity for all. Prisons are full of a disproportionate number of black and brown bodies.
As we all move towards our shared goals, some are committed to helping bring others along on the journey. Others push ahead at all costs, thinking only of themselves. Pathways are not always clearly defined, with nearly insurmountable roadblocks and obstacles placed at intervals for many. The roads are tumultuous, noisy, and exhausting at times.
However, the United States continues to be a beacon of hope with potential for the ideal. Immigrants still come to join our throngs surging forward. The potential and promise we hold in our hearts moves us onward. We believe it possible to arrive at the destination outlined in the Constitution. Our roadmaps are different and our obstacles are unique, but our common hopes move us ahead.
Elections hold the power to steer us in a particular direction, either towards or away from our desired destination. Regardless of the outcome, we have a responsibility to keep driving. We clear obstacles and straighten roads, doing U-turns as needed. We clarify and revise roadmaps, committed to the ongoing process.
We, as a country, are enroute. There have been great many wrong turns and roadblocks. At times we have crashed and burned. But we get back on the road, focused on a destination. We remain committed to the journey for ourselves and others, clearing paths for those yet to come.
So, are we there yet?
Not yet, but we are on our way.