you are not without a choice

aleppo-child

I will never, for as long as I live, be able to get this image out of my head.

Of course, I’ve tried. When this picture first emerged and stunned the world into grief, I skipped the shot glass and drank tequila straight out of the bottle.

And, I suppose, it would be easier now to simply not think of this young boy, bloodied and covered in dust from a bomb too close to him. It would be easier to grieve and slowly forget as time passed and distract ourselves with other things.

That is an option, for those of us thriving in the United States.

And when the next bomb hits, as it always does, we will cry our detached tears and perhaps even say a few words for the lives lost.

Then, we will forget.

We will choose to not remember the things that hurt.

We will let Omran Daqneesh become a distant memory and collect dust, much like he did when the bomb detonated.

America, the not-so-brave, unwilling to extend a hand toward the suffering.

America, the not-so-free, afraid of its own Constitution and promises.

America, the privileged.

America, the cruel.

America, land I am ashamed of.

From the very beginning, America has been made up of people willing to commit genocide and own slaves for the gain of a nation.

But not even dust can cover the blood on our hands.

I don’t want to forget this image of Omran. I don’t want to forget my complicity and grief.

When our president discriminates against Muslim people, refugees, and the homeless, I want to always see Omran’s face and remember: I have a choice.

I will always have the choice to be a decent human being.

I will always have the choice to use my time, money, and efforts to fight for the defenseless.

I will always have the choice to see blood pour from a stranger’s open wound and use my own hand to stop the bleeding.

I will always have the choice to commit myself to a life of advocacy.

Today, we have a choice.

May we all choose Good things. May we all choose to call our senators, to donate our money, to offer our own homes to those in need of one.

May we choose to rise above bigotry and false love.

We have a choice.

We always have a choice.

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