When I read about an entire political party that, for no good reason, wishes to take health care from the poor, with the false excuse “affordability” . . .
And when I read that, Soviet-style . . . our government is using undocumented, immigrant children to turn in their parents, “essentially using these children to unwittingly turn in their own parents, and this is going to haunt these kids for a very long time, especially if their parents are deported, especially if their parents are jailed or sentenced,” said Maria Woltjen, executive director of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights at the University of Chicago . . .
And when I read that drug overdose is the leading cause of death in Butler County, Ohio, but county Sheriff Richard Jones says he “has no plans to equip his deputies with naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug that saves hundreds, if not thousands, of lives around the country every day” . . . .
And then, when I read this poem written by a 23-year-old heroin addict . . .
“Funny, I don’t remember no good dope days.
I remember walking for miles in a dope fiend haze. I remember sleeping in houses that had no electric. I remember being called a junkie, but I couldn’t accept it. I remember hanging out in abandos that were empty and dark.
I remember shooting up in the bathroom and falling out at the park. I remember nodding out in front of my sisters kid. I remember not remembering half of the things that I did. I remember the dope man’s time frame, just ten more minutes.
I remember those days being so sick that I just wanted to end it. I remember the birthdays and holiday celebrations. All the things I missed during my incarceration.
I remember overdosing on my bedroom floor. I remember my sisters cry and my dad having to break down the door. I remember the look on his face when I opened my eyes, thinking today was the day that his baby had died.
I remember blaming myself when my mom decided to leave. I remember the guilt I felt in my chest making it hard to breathe.
I remember caring so much but not knowing how to show it. and I know to this day that she probably don’t even know it. I remember feeling like I lost all hope. I remember giving up my body for the next bag of dope.
I remember only causing pain, destruction and harm. I remember the track marks the needles left on my arm. I remember watching the slow break up of my home. I remember thinking my family would be better off if I just left them alone. I remember looking in the mirror at my sickly completion.
I remember not recognizing myself in my own Damn reflection. I remember constantly obsessing over my next score but what I remember most is getting down on my knees and asking God to save me cuz I don’t want to do this no more !!! “
. . . I think about the people, and realize that there, but for the grace of God, go I, and I wonder, “What has become of our good nation, that cannot even find the heart to help a child who begs us for help?”
Why have we become so unfeeling, so cruel, so willing to turn away and to blame the unfortunate for their misfortune?
There was a time when to be American meant to lend a helping hand. It was written on our Statue of Liberty. Now, we meet every stranger with a steel fist. Now, the Statue is a lie.
It takes courage to be kind. So lacking courage, we elect haters, xenophobes, the mean-spirited and the selfish, who justify their evil by claiming they make us safe, though in reality, they lead us down to our greatest dangers.
Why have we allowed ourselves to change?
Now we carry guns. We impoverish students. We cut Social Security. We jail the poor for the most minor infractions. We impose bails that only the wealthy can meet. We pay for hard work with salaries too low for life. We deprive the poor of their vote.
We prefer paying to jail than paying to feed. Given the choice between the carrot and the stick, we choose the stick. We bar the innocent from our shores because a tiny few may be guilty.
We pass cruel laws. We justify torture. We sneer at the homeless and the starving.
We deport children. Our hearts have frozen even to them.
Who are we who punish the sick, the poor, the less fortunate? Why have we become so addicted to inhumanity?
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell