Where Loyalties Lie: A Memorial

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I wonder at where Americans’ loyalties lie.

Only a third of us vote. We’re not particularly loyal to the republic.

While our Statue of Liberty invites the world to “give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” our national rhetoric threatens walls to keep them out. We’re not loyal to opportunity.

Nor do we care for our already-citizens. Here in the U.S., men are shot for being black. Legal scholar Patricia Williams calls killing black men a long-standing American ritual, a call and response we all know. As we continue to sing this raced violence, we’re not loyal to equality.

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Recalling The Republic

Titan Atlas Only a third of Americans voted in last week’s election. Worse than apathetic, our poor turnout evidences a breach of contract. Having failed to participate in the republic we were trained for, non-voting Americans should forfeit their high school diplomas and university degrees.

Two thirds of Americans didn’t cast a ballot last week, but most of us have taken advantage of free public education. 85% of U.S. citizens hold a high school diploma. A third of us hold Bachelor’s degrees. Even university experiences are often paid, in part, by the state.

Despite Socrates’s dictum that an unexamined life is not worth living, we don’t educate our population simply for the sake of individual enlightenment. The U.S. offers free public education because an educated populace is requisite to a democracy.

In a country where the word socialist serves as political mudsling, we offer socialized education. Taxpayers fund education for us all – even for those of us who don’t pay, or don’t pay as much, tax. Here, we all own the means to potentially better ourselves and our situations. Continue reading