"If you don't like it you can leave."
People say this a lot on the internet, and it’s usually when they’re defending horrible injustices happening in our country. I actually find the statement very telling of those who make it.
They ignore the issues that are affecting their fellow Americans, whether it's racism, immigration, LGBTQ rights, poverty etc. If it’s not personally affecting them, they don’t care.
Let's face it, people can be dangerously selfish. We’ve even got detailed political ideologies dedicated to enshrining this exact kind of selfishness. It’s a sad irony that often this selfish worldview is to their own detriment.
But where would America be if every generation before us would have said, I have mine, screw you?
We have independence because the founding generation of the Revolution fought to make sure we’d never have to kneel to kings again.
We held this country together in the civil war, despite the rending forces of this same selfishness that said it was ok to hold fellow humans in lifelong bondage.
We survived the Great Depression because we said “enough” to the runaway excesses of casino capitalism and stabilized the economy with the New Deal, which modernized our infrastructure and lifted millions of Americans out of desperation into dignity.
We defeated the Axis Powers in WW2 because everyone sacrificed something so we wouldn’t be ground under the cruel boot of fascism.
Our history is full of examples of how our nation was preserved and made greater, not by selfishness but by the generosity of spirit of Americans who didn’t like the status quo but didn’t just “leave,” as that tired cliché would recommend. They stayed and fought for a better and more fair America.
I don’t like the status quo. But I’m not leaving.
I’m sticking around to fight for America and the promise of the American Dream, that conscientious hard work can pay off here, for the person working, not the corporate billionaire heirs and heiresses who won the birth lottery.
I believe we are stronger together, and that everybody does better when EVERYBODY does better. “If you don’t like it, leave” is a cop out and this nation didn’t get anywhere by copping out.
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