There is another timeline where things aren’t like this. A timeline where the dream that is America became a reality. A place where any person — regardless of race or creed — could come to this country and find a welcoming home. If they were industrious enough, they could build a good life out of nothing but hard work, honesty, and determination. Their children would look forward to a better world with plentiful food, cleaner waters, and longer lifespans thanks to advancements in medical science. Their public infrastructure would be even more robust — advances in technology constantly paving the way to faster transportation, less pollution, and seemingly infinite abundance. Those children would look at America as a warm embrace — a place of refuge for the downtrodden, a place whose systems benefited any who came to its shores, a place that valued honesty and hard work, and most importantly — a place to thrive.
This is not our timeline. Ours is one where America realized into a nation that focuses the majority of its wealth and industry on war and violence. Our is a nation where its children can expect to live shorter, more difficult lives than their parents. Ours is one of riots and protest. Protests around a simple phrase: my life matters. The response to this from our government is violence — tear gas, flash-bangs, beatings, choke-holds, rubber bullets, and massive numbers of civilian casualties. Our timeline is one of secret police kidnapping citizens and throwing them into unmarked vans. Mafia-like sheriffs refusing to service 911 calls to libraries because they wrote a letter supporting Black Lives Matter. It is a timeline where many citizens see Black people saying my life matters and their first response is BUT!. The only moral response is nothing more, nothing less. Anything but a is a when someone is asking to matter enough to continue breathing. It is heartbreaking to see so many of my fellow countrymen perform mental gymnastics to prove that, actually, state sponsored violence result in so many citizen lives being ended. That it is somehow for police to drive MRAPs through cities in peacetime. That it is somehow for police to murder civilians should they happen to feel threatened by a cell phone.