Some time ago, I stumbled across the curtain and peeled it back by just an inch. I didn’t know at the time exactly which curtain I was pulling at. But the resultant week-long witch hunt, articles and books, phone calls to my family members, all intent on deriding me for daring to tug made it clear. I pulled at the one curtain we’re not supposed to acknowledge even exists. The one we’re just expected to believe, no matter what else we believe alongside it. It’s a bloody, dusty old thing that ought to be thrown out already. But many aren’t ready to admit it. They still lean into the idea of bootstraps — which you’re a fool to believe is at all synonymous with actual hard work — and the idea that a flag is more deserving of your support than justice for your fellow Americans, or that basic necessities like clean water are a “privilege.” It’s a curtain that we have used for centuries to cover up genocide, slavery, massive wealth inequality, and systemic sexism. And now we’re using it to hide our almost total inability to get our leaders to do what’s right.
Today will not be the day that America realizes gun violence can be stopped, and does something about it. It will not be the day that America realizes our working class is abusively overworked, and does something about it. It will not be the day that America realizes that systemic racism is a foundation on which this country was built and is still used today to justify the continued oppression of Americans, and does something about it. But nothing lasts forever.