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When did the American Dream become the American Nightmare? by Genisus

Some say it was a certain year, others an event, a presidency ect. For some it never was a dream. A dream implies a sort of vast uncontrolled wonder, and for them, America has been nothing but calculated in its treatment of them.


History has always been one of my favorite subjects growing up. I remember from a young age learning about the things that make this country so great. My dad was in the navy, so it’s safe to say I grew up a little patriotic. When you’re young, they don’t bring up the horrible things that have been done to people in the name of this patriotism, the blood spilled, the disregard of the rights of its very people.


As you get older that’s when that information comes to the surface. You have to stomach the things your country did, have to face the things that lead you to have the life you have now. But, one part always made it better: the fact that somehow the ones wronged found a way to triumph. They found a way to speak up, to fight, to force themselves into the very bones of America, and to not be forgotten in the American Dream.


I am black. I am a woman. I am young. I am a person. I am a human. My ancestors fought so that I could be seen as all these things. They fought so that I would not be treated as nothing better than livestock. They fought to let me have all these identities and still be considered human. I grew comfortable, compliant, thinking now that I have these rights surely, they could never be taken away.


So, when I first heard of the SCOTUS ruling to overturn Roe V. Wade, I’m ashamed to admit I had no reaction, I was just tired. The kind of tiredness that you feel sink deeply into your soul. That kind of tiredness has paralytic effects.


I contemplated everything that led to that moment. I watched the last 3 years of my life like a bad tv show, from missing graduations and prom due to COVID, spending my first two years of college from behind a screen, missing the very beginning of my adulthood—the end of my childhood. Then I moved on to less selfish thoughts, thinking of all the people who died at the hands of an unjust system, watching hatred and prejudice brew. Suddenly, I feel too young for all of this.


I’m just 20, this is the time to live in freedom not fear. But I am afraid. All I thought when hearing the news was “why”? Why? Why is the country showing so much hatred for all that I hold dear? Why are they providing more care to a clump of cells than real breathing humans living on their doorstep? Where was this care to George Floyd, to the indigenous people, the homeless, the overpopulated underfunded foster homes? Where is this care, for the victims of rape, incest, young mothers who can’t afford children, people who can’t carry a pregnancy to term safely? Why do they get to decide anything about what we do with our bodies?


Then the question of “how” pops in. How did we get to this point? How did we allow them so much control? How are we going to take it back? How are we being made bystanders in our own story?


That’s what I feel like, a bystander in my own story. Watching SCOTUS, POTUS, and any other “OTUS” fight over what liberty should be taken away today. Bills being overturned, acts being passed. A constant tug of war leading to bigger cracks in our nation’s foundation. Having our rights be treated as pieces on a chess board, sacrificed and saved at random all to “keep peace.”


I think I speak for me and most of my generation when I say this isn’t a peaceful existence. This is heavy, this is watching the news every day, scared for everyone and everything, including your future. This is sitting silent wondering where it all went wrong.


But we won’t stay wondering. We won’t stay silent. We are too resilient. Too Strong. Too Loving. If changes are to be made it will be for a better future not to stay stuck in history. We will adapt, make funds, donate, and continue to march on to greater things. We will survive this like we survive all things, by banning together and making them realize, people do not deserve to live in such terror. We deserve to live in a world of equality and universal respect.


I too have dreams for America: dreams of us all learning from the past, instead of repeating it.

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