We Will Win

This article was originally published in The Huffington Post.

Intersectionality speaks to a world-view and perspective – a way to analyze overlapping forms of identity and varied experiences and also systems of oppression, a lens with which to view struggle and freedom that is inclusive and sees liberation as interconnected. It is how one person can see and experience the world through overlapping perspectives of race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, documentation status, and so many more – two of these influences can affect one’s world view; all can affect one’s world view. It is often a deeply internal awakening to reach a perspective of intersectionality; it is also where we will find our solutions.

There is a war in America. It is a war of ideals, of information, of technology and media - and it is a war for the unrealized humanity of the nation. If we are to be honest, to end the charade of arguments framed in political deflection and evasive discourse, then both sides that are engaged in this battle would acknowledge this war. What will America be?

America has always been an aspirational concept. It is a nation founded on a declaration of independence and themes of democracy and freedom and opportunity – and yet, as we know well, the great sin, the foundational lie of the nation, is that the democracy and freedom and opportunity it has pontificated about, has not been for “we the people.” The truth is, American liberty and democracy has always been reserved for the precious few – originally land owning white men. Black people, indigenous people, women, and poor whites were not included in these original ideals.

And so, America has been in a state of war since its founding.

At times this war has been one of internecine battles – fought in corridors of power and influence, in court decisions issued quietly directing the nation’s course. At other times this war has broken into the open – the stark choice the nation faced clear to all: between indigenous people and those who sought to slaughter their numbers in a genocide; between Abolitionists and those who sought to enslave and own human beings; between America and the Southern forces who seceded, created their own treasonous nation, their chief stated goal to continue human bondage; between freedom fighters and white supremacist forces who fought to defeat the gains secured during Reconstruction; between the Women’s Suffrage movement as they fought to ensure full freedom and citizenship for women and others who fought to keep women as second class citizens. The American ideal has been betrayed many times in our history: when the United States Supreme Court forced Japanese Americans into internment camps and much of the nation responded with support or deafening silence; when fascist forces under the name of McCarthyism suppressed speech and political freedom, threatening imprisonment or deportation for ideals; when labor sought to create rights for workers and big businesses fought to continue child labor and grinding inhumane work conditions in the name of profit; when citizens took to the streets to stand for full citizenship for Black people, 100 years after the end of the Civil War, and in response, the power and violence of the state sought to continue Segregation; when college students sought to end a war in Vietnam and were responded to with massive arrests and police violence; when bigotry, social and legal oppression faced Gay and Lesbian people and their allies who believed in full and complete protection for all sexual orientations and identities; when widespread political forces sought to silence and defeat women who had once again created a movement seeking full freedom and opportunity as well as a radical revision of our idea of what makes a man or a woman; and when jingoistic forces of exclusion advocate inhumane policies in response to the undocumented and the dreamers. This has always been a nation of war engaged in battles of ideas. There have always been two sides.

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