Good morning.

As many of you are preparing to start your day, I’m just finishing mine. While you’re thinking of breakfast and the morning commute, I’m thinking of the state of the union.

No, I don’t mean Donald Trump’s bizarre sideshow of an administration. That’s just a symptom of the cancer that’s infested the nation.

The reality is that we the people have failed this country.

Many public addresses such as this come veiled in masks or clever animations to hide the speaker from repercussions and allow them to enjoy the anonymity of the internet. While I understand the intent of those trying to spread their message from a veil, I also recognize that the very ability to do such a thing is at the heart of our problem.

You see, it’s not that we, as a nation, have taken a wrong turn. We haven’t made a misstep. We’ve lost our very humanity.

Now, the good people, those who should be rising to the forefront of our social and political discourse are forced into the shadows while those who should by all rights be relegated to the fringe of society have cast off their white hoods and adorned themselves in sheep's wool intent on lulling us into accepting hatred as just another political ideology.

Now, I know what many of you are thinking. We’ve made a lot of forward strides in America, and that’s absolutely true. We have accomplished great things in some arenas. Unfortunately, we didn’t do so as a nation, a people, moving forward. We did so in small actions and through sheer force of will against the tide of a country screaming into the void from the abyss of lost, stolen, and co-opted identity.

Our president….yes OUR president, because like it or not, we not only let Donald Trump happen….we, as a people, made him……….

OUR president has used a couple of phrases since his creation.

“America First.” and “Make America Great Again.”

Those are powerful phrases in a true dictatorial fashion, but they speak to a fantasy….one held by many Americans, left wing, right wing, and everything in the between…..a fantasy of the American Dream and of a once great nation that can and will be again.

Except….

America was never first and it was never great.

This is a land not discovered but conquered. Our ancestors came to a land inhabited and chose to eliminate its caretakers. While damning in every way, it forced us to take on that role of caretaker…a job that in over 200 years of trying, we’ve yet become remotely qualified for.

The United States of America was not founded by revolution or ingenuity so much as the sheer irony of slave owners demanding that their own shackles be cast off. Our founders were so colossally wrong about basic human rights yet we seem to believe that the document they constructed to serve as a roadmap for America is infallible and should never be altered….except for all those times it has been.

We aren’t great and we never have been.

Our history is damning from start to finish and we’ve barely begun to reconcile the past enough to move forward, but we can’t continue living there. Those of us alive today are living within a world, a system, that was forged in blood before we entered it. While we can hope for and work for change, we can’t live as if that change has already come. We need to work within the world in order to make it better, so for those sitting on a pedestal of their own making, feigning enlightenment by placing themselves outside of reality, you’re irrelevant until you step down to earth and get your hands dirty with the real work of change.

It won’t happen, though, until we find our path again. It won’t happen while we exist it what is almost a satirical caricature of what our country should be. It won’t happen until we the people are ready.

We are so far off course right now that down is sideways and blue is some form of synthetic fruit.

And contrary to popular belief, it’s not because we have political disagreements. It’s not because we’re divided on how best to move forward. It’s not because of some faux publicized polarization that’s so profound, apparently, that it only manages to get half the country to bother voting.

Disagreement is healthy. It’s also a requirement for the system as it stands now to function. The problem isn’t disagreement…it’s that we disagree about the wrong things.

Instead of disagreeing on how best to end poverty in America……we disagree on whether we even should.

Instead of disagreeing on how best to raise up all people in this country and make us the melting pot we’ve long pretended to the world to be…….we disagree on whether certain people deserve, not only rights but the most basic levels of human decency.

Instead of disagreeing on how to be a world leader…….we, as one voice, have declared that we must not, as a nation, be a positive force in the world and an example to aspire to.

It’s almost hard to believe that we’re responsible for the situation our country is currently facing, isn’t it?

America is at a turning point and we the people get to choose which path we take.

We’re getting ready to enter a new primary season as we lead up to the 2020 election cycle, and it’s going be the most important election cycle possibly in our lifetimes.

The outcome in 2020 will determine whether or not we, as a nation, can even recognize a wrong course and correct it, or if we’re beyond saving.

And so I want to challenge you, and myself, to be catalysts for change.

Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian….or any party or ideology….we all need to look hard at the candidates on the field over the coming year and examine who they are and what they want for our country. We need to espouse the positive goals and idea that we see, regardless of candidate, and condemn the negative ones. We need to join all our tribes together in peace and move forward as a people.

We need to speak, loud and clear, truth to power and demand that they bend to OUR will, follow OUR lead, and be the public servants that we need them to be to make America great for the first time and for a long time.

Thank you for indulging my idealism and I implore you to take it to heart.

Philosopher, science communicator, and social justice bard.