don’t use my name to hide your shame!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Don’t Use My Name To Hide Your Shame!

By Michael Anthony Serrapica (for those who paid the price of freedom)

 

 

In 1776 I fought in a revolution, armed with a single-shot musket, against the world’s greatest superpower. Our mission, led by General George Washington, who would become our first president, was to escape rule by monarchy, actually tyranny, dictatorship, and set the United States of America free for democracy because “all men are created equal.” The odds of our success were highly improbable but we prevailed. In the years and decades and centuries that followed, you squandered what I and my comrades and George Washington fought for. Washington did not belong to a political party and, in fact, advised against them. Today, we are governed by two political parties that are ruled by the same masters, whose only interest is profit; and retain control by constantly sowing division and even hatred among us, so we will not rise up against them, like we did in 1776. This is, again, tyranny and dictatorship, disguised as democracy. This is the illusion of democracy. You sully my name every Fourth of July by remembering what I did but forgetting why I did it. Don’t use my name to hide your shame!

 

In 1804 I set out with Captains Lewis and Clark. Our mission, charged by President Thomas Jefferson, was to explore, claim and befriend the natives of our new land all the way west to the Pacific Ocean. We accomplished all of our goals, not the least of which was to assure the indigenous Americans that we would be their friends and they had nothing to fear from the White man because “all men are created equal.” In the years and decades and centuries that followed, you abused, robbed, and murdered the original Americans. You broke my promise, made in the name of President Thomas Jefferson and the United States of America. You sully my name every time you exploit the weak – at home or abroad. Don’t use my name to hide your shame!

 

In 1861 I took up arms in the bloody, costly and terrible American Civil War under the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln because “all men are created equal” but many still were not. My enemies were my former friends and family who had been convinced by their leaders that some men were created to be their slaves. In the end, the cause of freedom, for all men, won. In the years and decades and centuries that followed, you forgot what I and my comrades and President Abraham Lincoln fought and died for. To this very day, some of us, many of us, most of us, are still not free. We are now “wage slaves.” The masters-of-profit that rule the land give us as little pay and as meager benefits as they can get away with, while providing us with the illusion of democracy to keep us quiet, and sowing the seeds of suspicion so we will be more fearful of each other than of them. Not all slaves are Black and not all masters are White. In America, people only come in two colors: Black and “GREEN.” You sully my name by forgetting that to the “GREEN” ones all the rest of us are “BLACK.” Don’t use my name to hide your shame!

 

On June 6, 1944 I, and thousands of others from several nations, left the safety of a ship to do battle on a beach in Normandy, France. Our mission was, again, to crush a tyranny – one that had grown into a threat to the entire world. Many of us met our end on that beach but enough of us completed our mission to begin the end of World War II. I and my brothers-in-arms fought and died because “all men are created equal.” The tyranny had to be crushed because, like all tyrannies before and after, its leaders convinced their followers that some men were created to be slaves. In the end, the cause of freedom, for all men, won The Great War. In the years and decades and almost a century that followed, the world saw much happiness. Prosperity abounded and people’s lives improved, especially in America, which grew to be the world’s most powerful and wealthiest nation. But new tyrants among the victors, especially in America, plotted to enslave those without power – again. The powerful learned and remembered from the past what those without power missed or forgot: To enslave all, convince some that their enemy is their neighbor because he is “different,” so the people will fight amongst themselves and not rise up against their oppressors. You sully my name every June 6 by remembering what I did but forgetting why I did it. Don’t use my name to hide your shame!

 

In the decade of the 1960s, I marched in America’s streets to protest a needless war-for-profit, and joined strikes because America’s workers were losing their rights, and picketed and boycotted against robber-barons, the masters-of-profit, because they were oppressing and enslaving the Americans whose labor produced their riches. I and my fellow Americans marched and protested and struck and picketed and boycotted because “all men are created equal.” We were inspired and led by great, patriotic Americans like President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Walter P. Reuther, and Saul D. Alinsky, who all died as martyrs to the cause of freedom and justice for all. I and my brothers and sisters struggled and suffered and were beaten and killed to make a better America for you. In the years and decades and into the new century that followed, you let the torch go out by siding with your oppressors against your own interests. You sully my name by forgetting that no one is free unless all are free. Don’t use my name to hide your shame!

 

On September 11, 2001 I was a police officer enjoying my day off at home. While having breakfast, I heard the news on my kitchen radio that my country was under attack. I put on my uniform, although I did not have to, and said goodbye to my family, knowing it might be the last time, and rushed to put myself in harm’s way to help people I did not know because “all men are created equal.” Many like me; police, firefighters, medical workers, soldiers, and civilians did the same. We could not save everyone but thanks to our efforts, however large or small, many Americans saw the Sun rise on September 12 – who otherwise might not have. In the days that followed, we were hailed as heroes. In the years that followed, we became an excuse for America’s rulers, the robber-barons, to justify new wars-for-profit. And in the decades that followed, I and my brothers and sisters-in-blue, the police who selflessly sacrificed and died on “9/11,” have become a shield to obscure the behavior of bad cops. When you pin on your badge and strap on your gun, you are bound by the same duty as me: To protect the public and uphold the law, without bias. You sully my name when you attack law-abiding protesters because you disagree with their beliefs, or fire your gun at someone’s back, who is unarmed and running away from and not toward you, or invoke what I did on “9/11” to justify these criminal failures of your duty. No one hates a bad cop more than a good cop and any “good” cop who defends a bad cop is a BAD cop. You sully my name! And you dishonor the memory of those who gave, and give, their lives in the line of duty. Remembering me every September 11 for what I did while forgetting why I did it is not an honor – it’s an insult. Don’t use my name to hide your shame!

 

On November 8, 2016 I voted for the man who would become President of the United States for the next 4 years because I was fooled. On November 3, 2020 I voted for him again because I was foolish. But what he did on January 6, 2021 opened my eyes to what he really stood for: TREASON! On that day, many who voted as I had followed his call to attack the Capitol of the United States and equate it to the American Revolution of 1776, which it was anything but. The American Revolution was a carefully planned war against a dictatorship. The “insurrection” of 2021 was a poorly planned riot by fools and sore-losers who continued to believe the lies of a con-man. The American two-party system is indeed an illusion of democracy. That is why many Americans voted for the con-man who won in 2016 and lost in 2020: He convinced us he was an “outsider” who could “drain the swamp.” But many others voted for him and continue to follow him because he convinced them they are better than others who are “different;” the success formula for all tyrants throughout history. We can rise up again as we did in 1776 but not with the same tactics. No matter what the NRA says, the American citizens can never have enough guns to defeat the American military. And even if we could, nothing will change if Americans keep voting for con-men (and women) who will never serve us but only the masters-of-profit. Nothing will change until Americans start remembering the heroes of our past not only for what they did but why they did it: They did it because “all men are created equal.”

 

Since the United States of America declared its independence average Americans have stepped forward to make America and the world a better place for all, not just for the privileged, because “all men are created equal.” Many of us paid the ultimate price. Remembering what we did for you, on one day every year, but forgetting why we did it, each and every day, is the ultimate insult. Don’t use our names to hide your shame!

 

*“Are you an American? No, I am not an American. I am the American.” – Mark Twain

 

*AUTHOR’S NOTE: Twain actually borrowed the quote from his friend, Frank Fuller.

 


Submitted: May 13, 2022

© Copyright 2022 Michael A. Serrapica. All rights reserved.

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