An Open Letter To America
Politics and Activism

An Open Letter To America

A place of utopian ideals and unattainable promise


Dear America,

Land of the free, home of the brave, and the place of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That’s how you see yourself, right? You’re young and you’re powerful. You’re 2,800 miles of pride and promise. And you know it.

You can thank colonialism for your abundance of pride and ego. You were colonized by European settlers and became a recognizable place of opportunity. People came to you in search of freedom – to practice their own religion, to provide for their families, to be free. And this “freedom for all” mindset is what feeds your pride. It’s what your citizens believe sets you apart from other countries. It’s what sparks the fireworks off on the Fourth of July every year and what made the American flag such an iconic and familiar pattern.

But let’s be realists; let’s look at the big picture. These promising and utopian ideals are flawed. You’re not just the land of the free and the home of the brave. You don’t really provide equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You didn’t in 1776, you didn’t in 1976, and you don’t today.

Your birth as a nation was polluted with immorality and corruption. You thrived partially because of a mass genocide on indigenous peoples, using white supremacy to validate the sacrifice of lives and cultures. There were over 10 million Native Americans living on your land before white settlers arrived, and that number dropped as low as 300 thousand by the 20th century. These are innocent lives being ripped from families and homes, cultures being destroyed and invalidated. The birth of your great nation wasn’t all about conquering success and freedom; it was bloody and it was immoral.

Then came slavery, a system that capitalized off of the pain of 12 million innocent people. This atrocity began at the start of the 17th century, when the first group of African slaves were shipped over to Virginia in hopes to aid the process of tobacco production. You were selfish and greedy, America; you were willing to work innocent people to death in order to achieve the most convenient and profitable lifestyle. And, again, you used white supremacy to validate these actions. Slavery is a system that may have lasted for 250 years, but it will never be erased from history; there are strong repercussions of racist attitudes and belief systems that will remain in the hearts of some of your citizens.

And let’s not forget about the complete stripping of Japanese Americans’ civil rights that occurred on your land as little as 70 years ago. The round-up of 120,000 Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II was not very “American” of you. It was weak, it was unjust, and it was cruel. Innocent Americans were being forced from their homes because of their ethnic origin, an action that goes against everything you say to pride yourself on.

And, yes America, the past is the past. Every country has their highs and lows; every country has a dark part of history. But what about now? Have you really grown and learned from your past? Can you confidently say that you pride yourself in being a place where all your citizens can equally benefit from your prosperity?

Yes, part of you has grown and positively evolved. The number of self-identifying Native Americans has risen back up to 5 million. Slavery has been abolished and the Civil Rights Act has been passed; African Americans can now theoretically live full and free lives of their own – you’ve even seen your first black president. Japanese internment camps have been shut down, and your government passed legislation to award payments to survivors and repair damaged property. You’ve even worked to fix other injustices throughout the country, like marriage equality and women’s rights.

Basically, enough of your citizens complained about injustices for long enough to force you to fix them. But how much of it really got fixed? Are you truly the best America you can be, hundreds of years worth of mistakes later?

The truth is, you can’t proclaim yourself as being the place of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – not when these ideals aren’t equally distributed to all your diverse citizens. America, your ideals are contradictory. They only benefit those who are privileged, whether that be because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or class. Sure, this privilege gap has been mended since the 17th century, but in no alternate universe is it gone.

Over 300 black Americans are being killed by your police force every year. Innocent Americans are being targeted and sometimes killed because of the color of their skin. Slavery may have been abolished, but black Americans are not truly free, especially in a place where they are 7 times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder and incarcerated than white Americans.

Under your current government, groups of people are being targeted for their religion. There was a ban on the entrance of Muslims instated by your new president. This order goes completely against the liberty you pride yourself on, but was supported by millions of your citizens. Where is your pride in equality and liberty during these times? It seems like you've quickly forgotten about the white settlers who came to you looking for religious freedom.

Transgender people are being confined to certain public bathrooms, men are deciding legislation for women’s bodies, and immigrants are being ripped from their home and families. Don’t forget that you’re a land of immigrants, that you promote equality, that you supposedly prioritize freedom.

America, you’re not a bad place. You’re unique; you harbor a home for people from all parts of the world. You are the voice of millions of diverse experiences and perspectives. You are the birthplace of thousands of groundbreaking inventions, historical figures, and beautiful landmarks. Your ideals sit at the heart of every self-identifying citizen; you just can’t pick and choose who benefits from these ideals. So, no, we shouldn’t be aiming to make you great again, but achieve a new greatness, one that completely embodies the ethics you claim as your own in a way that is tangible for everyone.
Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

These 11 Face Masks On Etsy Support Small Businesses While Fighting The Spread Of Coronavirus

We're staying safe as states start lifting lockdown guidelines.

I, like most people who have had the luxury of being able to stay at home during this time, haven't spent much time outdoors at all. But when I do brave the great outdoors for a walk or to get to the grocery store, you won't find me without a mask.

My family and I were lucky enough to have family friends who were sewing some and had extras to give to us, but most of my friends and loved ones outside my immediate family have had to order some (or make a makeshift one out of scarves or bandanas).

Keep Reading... Show less

13 Reasons We're Using Quarantine As The Ultimate Excuse For Online Shopping This Month

The one thing we haven't distanced from is our bank account.

Throughout quarantine, I've been FaceTiming most of my friends in a full turtleneck or the go-to cozy sweater I keep wrapped around the chair in my room. Either way, I always have tea in my hands to keep myself warm — till this past week.

For most of the country who hasn't had the luck of quarantining in 90-degree weather on their family's lake house or with a backyard pool, things began to change this month. Our favorite shows came out with summer seasons, the sun came out, and we started spending more time outside.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down (Virtually) With Morgan Wooten To Talk About Coronavirus's Impact On The Wellness Industry

Just because coronavirus has greatly impacted the wellness industry doesn't mean wellness stops.

Morgan Wooten

If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.

Keep Reading... Show less

If you are a normal person who spends most of their time streaming TV shows, you'll know that "Friends" was taken off Netflix early in 2020. Given that a global pandemic followed shortly after, many diehard fans of the show stuck in quarantine have been experiencing significant Central Perk withdrawal.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

How To Interview A Class Of 2020 Graduate

What they've been through is truly unprecedented.


No matter how you want to spin it, the Class of 2020 will be the first class graduating amidst a global pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less

By now, it is safe to declare "Outer Banks" on Netflix as THE TV Show of quarantine.

"Tiger King" got out to an early lead, but since, the Pogues and the Kooks have owned pop culture conversations while everyone has been couped up this spring amidst a global pandemic. And if you are one of the very few people out there in the world that has not heard about "Outer Banks" and or haven't binged it yet, well...

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Spoke To A California ER Doctor About COVID-19, And Y'all, Our Healthcare Workers Know What's Up

In light of what's going on in the world, it's time to get some front-line perspective.

It seems like the only thing I do these days is scroll through social media in a desperate attempt to gain information. My phone has called me out on my screen time more than once, and I just continue to ignore it. You're probably in the same boat — stuck at home, scrolling deeper and deeper into a hole of conspiracy theories and possible "back to normalcy" dates, hungry for information.

While we know that the news is not our mental health's friend these days, getting reliable information is helpful and necessary.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments