Illustration by Saylor Cuzzort
Open Letter To America
January 17, 2019
This letter has been a long time coming, but I kept hoping against hope that I would not have to write it. It is time to face the facts though; America, you can do better.
Now, I am not going to be the one saying to make you great again, because the simple truth is that you can always be more, there is no need to go back to a certain time. My issue with you right now falls in three areas that I think you need to be made aware of and they all hold a common thread.
You have let hate speech be made into a joke. Now, I do not mean simple slurs, which are a problem in and of themselves. It is awful when a grown man feels threatened by a young Muslim girl who covers, but it is a different level when he feels emboldened enough to call her a terrorist and other awful things then joke about it with his friends. America, you were founded on the basis of the freedom of religion. I understand that times were different then, but kids are being targeted here. It has become common practice to turn people that are different into the butt of jokes.
You have let the hate speech turn into violence. America, you have had a problem with this one since before I was even a thought in my mother’s head. As of lately though, the victims are getting younger. America, I hate to bring up what you regard as old news, but you need to hear this. In November of this past year, a Virginia man admitted to murdering a 17-year-old Muslim girl during Ramadan. America, she was my age. She had her entire life in front of her and it is gone. A month before her murder, Pittsburgh happened. I know you might have forgotten because it got buried under mountains of shootings and hate crimes, but those were my father’s people. 11 Jewish people died because of hate. America, this needs to stop.
You have let hate speech change our minds. People are still being denied jobs on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, religion and so on and so forth. It is not supposed to be that way, there are laws in place to make sure that it is not that way, but potential employers still judge one applicant harsher than another based on those factors. I have heard stories of teachers treating students differently based off of their appearance. America, these issues seem small, but they influence people more than you could expect.
I want to let you know, I am not going after the freedom of speech right now. I would never; I like running my mouth too much to go after the freedom that protects that right. What I am trying to draw your attention to is that you are letting hate leak in by excusing it with the first amendment. America, if we want to move forward, we have to remember that it is okay to live and let live. We do not have to see eye to eye to treat each other with respect. We do not have to understand each other’s way of life to treat each other like humans.
I will support you no matter what, but please work with me here,