OPINION: An intervention letter for America

The United States seems to be in a downward spiral and needs an intervention.

Michael Harriot, The Root | 10/25/2016, 12:43 p.m.
The United States seems to be in a downward spiral and needs an intervention.

Dear America,

I know you’re wondering why we brought you here today. First, I want you to understand that this is not an ambush. We are here because we love you. I’m sure that the somber look on everyone’s face makes you think we have bad news, but don’t worry—you’re America; there’s always bad news.

Yes, there have been some disasters recently, and I know you heard the unbelievably tragic reports that Soulja Boy and Lil’ Bow Wow will be releasing an album this week, but that’s not why we brought you here. We came together because we needed to confront you on your recent behavior. We have been concerned about you for a while, but in the past year, during this election, it seems as if you have hit rock bottom. We want you to get better. We need you to get better.

America, this is your intervention.

I’ve never seen you this low. You always had an erratic spirit, but as you grew older, I watched you evolve from owning slaves and subjugating women to giving women the right to vote and writing a Civil Rights Act. When you elected a black president in 2008, my heart swelled. I was so proud of you when that happened. Sure, you were always a little bit racist and sexist, but I figured you’d eventually grow out of your antiquated ways. I guess I was wrong.

What happened to you, America? You were doing so well! You came to your senses and gave your citizens health care like every other civilized country, and you finally had a leader who could handle the kick-turn part of the Electric Slide. Things were looking so promising! The last time I saw you, you were trying to figure out how to give people free education. You were on your way to becoming great.

The next thing I know, you’re on TV ranting about Mexican rapists, banning Muslims, and black people not being able to walk down the street without getting shot. That’s when I knew you had relapsed and started using again. It broke my heart to see you revert to your Neanderthal, whip-wielding roots, stumbling around like a Jim Crow-era idiot trying to stop people from voting. I thought you were past that part of your life.

I don’t know why you relapsed. Maybe it is my fault. Maybe I let you forget that we have to take this day by day. Maybe I saw Oprah, Tyler Perry and Barack Obama and figured that we were living in a post-racial America, and I forgot that you will always have a little racism in your blood. Maybe I saw Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton and wiped away the memories of how you treated women. Maybe I relaxed when cops started wearing body cameras and I believed that police brutality had been solved.

I sometimes forget that racism and sexism are diseases embedded in your DNA, and they will never go away or be eradicated. I probably should have kept a better eye on you. Maybe I was too busy waiting in line for the new iPhone, listening to the new Beyoncé album or fighting against the newest grave injustice—people who put sugar in their grits—to notice that you had started getting high again.