This. These words here, THIS VOICE.
I remember trying to explain, during the elections in 2004, why I didn’t consider myself represented on either side. I couldn’t articulate what seemed so blatantly clear to me that I actually grew numb, would find myself jaw-gaping–couldn’t clearly get the words to say: HOW DO YOU CALL YOURSELF A PATRIOT WHEN IN THE SAME ARGUMENT YOU DENY WHOLE SEGMENTS OF AMERICA’S POPULATION? IMPLICIT IN CALLING YOURSELF A PATRIOT IS NAMING YOURSELF A MEMBER, INDEED A SUPPORTER, OF THAT COUNTRY WHICH YOU SO ESTEEM:
THEREFOR IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CLAIM FELLOWSHIP ON BEHALF OF ALL MEMBERS OF SAID COUNTRY…
…or, in this case, community. When I claim my love of Baltimore it is ALL of Baltimore…not just the slice of Church Street where Gram raised her 7 kids in a two bedroom and an attic house…not just the lovely row homes with rooftop patios where my white cousins or friends in the suburbs moved to when we grew up. THIS IS MY CITY>MY STATE>THAT TAUGHT ME THE TRUTH OF MY COUNTRY>THE GRIT OF THIS EARTH>HOW TO LOOK OPEN-EYED>AND SING OUT WHILE I’M HERE, THERE, SPREAD THESE HARD-AT-HEART TRUTHS & SONGS…Bless this man.