Oh my love, it’s a long way we’ve come
From the freckled hills to the steel and glass canyons
That’s actually what my ancestors looked like – well a good portion of them, at least.
My ancestors were mail carriers and fire fighters, and you know what that means?
They were lucky.
My ancestors never pounded the nails that built America.
We never picked its crops.
We never reclaimed land only others would be able to afford.
Many others hold ownership over this portion of the tale, and I’m grateful for each of them.
Sadly, the romantic idea that America was somehow built carries with it the toxic implication that this construction was somehow completed.
America is still being built today.
That Ellis Island has been replaced by airport Immigration only examples the transitional nature of this wonderful nation.
The hands are, let’s get it out there, less Caucasian than we feel they once were.
Does this mean we should celebrate them any less?
Should we suspect our more-recent arrivals because they look less American than… Who? My ancestors when they arrived?
(I get it, each of us has ancestors who were suspected and mistreated upon arrival, but)
Would any of our ancestors ask that we remember them by treating those coming to build tomorrow’s America with fear and disdain?
Do we now have so much that we cannot fathom another wanting to get their share?
Mao’s tactics were vile, but perhaps a few of us could use a re-education as well.
America takes hard work. It always has.
I, for one, am cognizant (and grateful) that me sitting in an air-conditioned room as I type on a laptop is not all it will take to carry America to the tomorrow I fully intend on enjoying.
The hands that built America had the names of saints, kings and prophets; they even had names that we who arrived before them assigned our ‘property’ against their will.
The hands that are building America have their own names.
These names sound 100% as foreign to yesterday’s immigrants as the names which my ancestors called themselves did once upon a time.
They sound just as foreign, but not one ounce more so.
American is being built as I type this today.
It will not be completed by the time you read this tomorrow.
May we celebrate and welcome those taking on the jobs we should be grateful no longer fall to our delicate hands.
Of all of the promises
Is this one we can keep?
Of all of the dreams
Is this one still out of reach?