Make America Brave Again.

 
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read time: 4 minutes

I am completely heartbroken and dumbfounded by the events of the past few days.

I don’t even know what to say, really.

I am aware of the the issues still at large in the world and I deeply care about what’s happening. But I’m a little sheltered from it, living in a rural, 99% white, small town. Diversity is something I value, but where I grew up has left me somewhat isolated from the culture of diversity and the pains of racism.

And I'm sorry about that. I'm sorry that I'm ignorant about these issues because I've never been on the receiving side of racism and because I've never experienced it up close and personal.

I don’t know how to talk about it.

Even though I’m horrified by terrible acts that continue to happen,  I don’t have the right words to say. I don’t have enough skin in the game.

That has the potential to keep me closed-lip on the subject, to keep me indifferent to the things that are happening in the world.

This is why it’s even more important to speak up.

This isn't eloquent or poetic because my words and thoughts on these matters feel clumsy.

But I have to add my voice. It’s easy for us so far removed to just glaze over headlines. But if we don’t start using our voices and speaking out against it, we are just as much in the wrong.

But we have a voice. That’s the beauty of this country.

Free to speak.

Free to protest.

I don’t know much, but what I do know is this: What happened this weekend, no matter how you slice it, is WRONG. Terrible. Disturbing. If you can justify the events of the weekend by reciting constitutional rights, then you are deceived.

This weekend can’t be justified by any logic or reason or rights. It can only be defined by what it is.

Terrorism. Hatred. Murder.

It’s not about what happened decades ago. It’s about what’s still happening now.

Who cares about America’s legacy if it continues to be tainted by racism, terror, hate, and blood?

We are better than this.

American can be called many things. Lazy. Indulgent. Ignorant. Materialistic. Violent.

But I see so much more. Rich in ideas. Rich in culture. Rich in innovation. Rich in community. I see self-starters and hard-workers, innovators and dream-chasers. Gutsy. Resilient. Full of grit.

America. Land of the free. Home of the brave.

This weekend, some of us chose to seize our freedom and disguise acts of terror as bravery.

Threatening someone else’s freedom is not brave. It is not honorable. It’s not just.

And it is not acceptable.

I just believe in a better America.

If this is what they meant by making America great again, then I’ll gladly be the first to jump off this train.

I believe in an America where freedom means looking out for everyone, not just yourself.

I believe in an America where bravery means looking outside of yourself and your experience to consider another perspective.

I believe in an American where freedom means liberty to demand more from our leaders.

I believe in an America where bravery means not being afraid or threatened by something that looks or sounds different than you.

I believe in an America where we’re free to call out hate. Free to speak. Free to demand justice. Free to love. Free to join together and fight the forces that give humanity a bad name.

I believe in an America where bravery doesn't mean using our freedom to instill terror in our enemies or elevate ourselves higher than our brothers and sisters.

I believe in an America where bravery means using our freedom for good. For change. For progress. For growth. For unity. For the sake of charity. In the name of love.

True bravery stands in the way of danger. It’s time to stop letting foolish men define who we are. It’s time to start protecting our people, our values, and our rights, not a citizens of this country, but as human beings, created by God.

Stand in the way of ideals that threaten to divide rather than unite.

Stand in the way of any prejudices and hate in your own heart.

Stand up for something instead of against anything.

Please.

It's time to make America brave again.

Erin Westermeyer Miller