You are probably wondering what preexisting conditions and subtext have in common. I am hoping I can bring them together in a way that you understand.
A preexisting condition is a state, manner or condition that existed before the current state of affairs. Health care insurance, or, as one very clever comedian refers to it, money for “in case shit happens”, has in the past been denied to many because of a preexisting condition. I was accepted, and then rejected from West Point, United States Military Academy due to the preexisting condition of asthma.
It will not be easy to navigate togetherness and the united voice that we need in these times due to some preexisting conditions in America. Not impossible, but not easy.
Native Americans have the preexisting condition of many broken promises, DAPL and other issues. Japanese Americans have the preexisting condition of internment camps (but, at least they got renumeration). Gay men have the preexisting condition of lack of care or concern during the height of for the American aids epidemic. Vietnam veterans have the preexisting condition of disdain, disapproval and no parade. Black Americans have the preexisting conditions of Florida, Ferguson, Charleston, New York, Ohio, Baltimore and Texas, for Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Tamir Rice. Black Americans have the preexisting condition of young men incarcerated for 3 life sentences plus 27 years for have a rock of crack, a rock, not an ounce, not an eight-ball, not a kilo, but a rock, near a school or church when either of those institutions is on every corner within a 500 foot radius, but a white man is handled with kid gloves, and taken to dinner after killing nine people. In a church. Black Americans have the stigma of a war on drugs, and a heroin ‘drug problem’, until it reaches suburbia and white America. Then, it is an epidemic, and the government can help.
I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. These are preexisting conditions that might make it very difficult for some of us to envision lifting our voices in unison.
That brings me to the subtext.
When the FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, made her speech, on July 26, 2016, she spoke to me in subtext. What she told me, is, “When they go low, we go high!”.
It was a call to arms. A call to be prepared. A call to (wo)man up and be ready. I cannot believe I am the only one who heard it. Yes, mistakes, injustices, indifference, apathy, and just plain hate has had its place. But, this is STILL our hOME.
“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.” – George Bernard Shaw
We may have been victims, or possibly perpetrators of some of these acts, but I believe we are being called upon to rise above. NOW. Yes, they HAVE gone low, but we MUST go high. We must purpose it.
Does that mean we forgive or forget all of the past wrongs and inequities? Absolutely not! Remember these things and let us fuel us to see what needs doing now. Let them fuel us to work together to heal those things, as much as they can be healed, but to also prepare a much better place at the table for our children.
Wear the safety pin and mean it. Write, call, sing, dance, volunteer, protest in whatever way we have it in us to do. We must raise our voices, and beat our drums. With all our hearts. This is our home. With something inside (of us) so strong, we might even get healing for some of those preexisting conditions. ❤