Oh January 12 of 2017, I read the following statement to an open mic group, and asked those in attendance to write their response on index cards. I collected the answers and created a response poem.
“He is a divider, not a uniter.” This phrase has been applied to both the current president, Barak Obama, and his predecessor, George W. Bush, but what do you mean when you say that someone is a divider? What does a unifier look like to you?
I believe that the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. was a uniter when he said that he foresaw a time when his children would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, but some people say he was divisive. (Although I did not say this at the time, my reason for calling Dr. King a uniter is because he gave a voice to the voiceless and promoted a society which extended rights and privileges which they had previously been denied, thus uniting them with the broader society.)
What do you believe?
The president elect, on the morning of his victory speech called for unity. For some this sounded like coercion, like a veiled threat.
What would America look like to you if we had unity? Would this imply inclusiveness or a chest thumping victory march? State your vision for our future. Our poem, written that evening follows:
America United is Like Gravity
It is like John Lennon’s song Imagine.
No one is concerned about your religion.
Your background makes no difference.
Everyone opens doors for everyone else.
Everyone wants to be part of everyone else.
When an issue arises we hear each person.
Hear each voice at least once.
It is a place with equal rights for all
with equal access to education and health care.
We all connect with one another,
but still maintain our individuality.
Combine unity with diversity.
Listen to different ideas.
Grow and change.
Compassion and rationality rule.
We must have some ideal,
a principle which unites us
but we disagree even about that.
United we stand.
Kneeling we unite.
Education becomes more important
than killing brown skinned people.
Unity is easy to make happen.
Try to understand each culture, each perspective.
Erase racism and other negative isms.
Create a place where the people’s attitudes
toward one another are in harmony
with the powers that be.
I wish to see a nation united in love and harmony.
I see a nation divided by hate and greed.
All voices are heard.
Everyone has a place at the table.
I seek a place where accountability of actions
and history are openly and honestly discussed.