If You Can Keep It

Kate Black
3 min readNov 6, 2020

Many of us have been grappling with the reality that millions of our fellow Americans voted for a man who has been shredding our democracy for the past four years. Some are perturbed that Republican Senators are standing by, silently watching the man and his family incite violence from the White House.

I am not surprised.

I am surprised by the numbers of Americans who turned their backs on other Americans to be loyal to a fascist because Facebook told them to.

Hundred of thousands of American are dead. He didn’t create the virus, true. The magnitude of this catastrophe is one-hundred percent his fault. This administration’s incompetence, complete ineptitude, lack of response, and flat-out stupidity caused the catastrophic spread of the virus and deaths of thousands.

When airplanes were flown into buildings in New York City, our hearts all shattered as one. Where are you now for your fellow Americans?

Many of you are terrorizing grief-stricken Americans who are in shock. They have lost children, parents, friends, spouses. They will never be the same. It is not “family values” to compound the grief and pain of suffering families.

Since when is it American to abandon your neighbors, and your community in the most dire moment of need? Where is your sense of duty to your community? Not to wearing a mask and contain a deadly virus that is killing thousands of people is each person’s duty. It’s more simple than open carry could ever be.

And more heroic. It actually saves lives.

Millions of Americans have chosen to be ignorant of the fact that being an American, being patriotic, isn’t about a party. It certainly isn’t about one man.

Out of many, one.

This country was founded by people who believed we could forge a new nation and be loyal to each other and the idea that all people are created equal. We, the People, were entrusted with a democratic Republic. Benjamin Franklin said, “If you can keep it.”

The only way a democratic Republic functions properly is when all the people vote. Freedom of speech gives us the right to redress grievances against the government in the form of speaking out against it.

Threats of violence and murder are not constitutionally protected speech. No American should be threatening their fellow citizens, regardless of differences.

The Founders used parchment, quills, and ink to write out their thoughts and arguments. They did not threaten to shoot each other. They fought passionately for a new nation built on the idea of freedom for all. Later, President Lincoln gave his inaugural speech saying that the Constitution was a framework for a more perfect union. A Confederate terrorist shot him in the head for working toward that end.

A more perfect union.

All American loyalty should be to that idea and each other, not one man.

This election has shed light on the worst, most abhorrent traits of humanity. This nation must rise to the challenge and continue to declare that we continue to strive for a more perfect union. We must get into good trouble and rise to these challenges facing us. We must all, every one of us, do the work that is necessary for this country not just to survive, but flourish and prosper.

Be loyal to the idea that we can still be free. Be loyal to the spirit of kindness and outreach that Americans have always held dear. Be loyal to the connection of community and caring for the least fortunate among us.

When rivers flood, we all sandbag. When children are hungry, we feed them. When people are sick, we help them. We don’t ask whose side they’re on first. We’re Americans. We’re supposed to be on the same side.

Please. Be loyal to the idea, not one party, and not one person.