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Lives And What Else Is America Betting? | By Louie Overstreet

May 5, 2021 by  
Filed under Community

Lives And What Else Is America Betting?


Louie Overstreet

Throughout its history, America has exhibited an unfortunate willingness to bet lives in order to block progress. The cost of this bet has been in the lives of young white men fighting a civil war and men and women of color dying as victims of genocide, enslavement, and interment.

It can be argued, to this very day, that America’s social climate is where one act of violence is almost immediately followed by another.

After a mass murder, we can expect tone-deaf and uncaring politicians to issue stupid, rote statements. Democrats will say, “America is better than this.” Republicans will state, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families.” My observations are that, no we ain’t better than that and speaking of betting, I bet not one politician is thinking of or praying for people they don’t know as donors.

Without a doubt in my mind, a poem written by Langston Hughes, who grew up in my old neighborhood — “down the way” in Cleveland, Ohio — summed it up best in a refrain and stanza in his poem, “Let America Be America Again.” While the poem was published five years before I was born, it is a totally accurate depiction of America in 2021.

The refrain is, “America never was America to me.” The stanza is as follows:

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro beating slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek-and finding only the same old stupid plan of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I have tried to describe America in columns with the headings: “America is in precipitous decline,” “America is headed to Hell in a handbasket” and “America, the land of hate.” It remains stupefying to me that haters in America are willing to up the ante of American lives, with bets of suppression of our personal freedoms, liberties, and even democracy itself.

Folks: America has a serious gambling problem!

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