I Am America |
by Alan Acker

I am three-fifths of a person; I am two-fifths invisible;
I am a slave; I am free; I am lynched; I am segregated; I survive; I eat my young;
I am the good, dead Indian; I am Wounded Knee, wounded pride, our pride and joy; I am casinos with huge payouts;
I am the trail of tears; emancipation; Jim Crow, poll tax, literacy exams, voter ID laws; I am strange fruit hanging from trees;
I am the Middle Passage; I am the Freedom Railroad; I am the Beaumont race riots of 1943;
I am Leo Frank and I am Fred Korematsu; I’ve come a long way, baby; I eventually learn, but never in the present;
I am hucksters, carpet baggers, bushwhackers, Jayhawkers; thugs, mobsters, gangsters, gangstas;
I am robber Barons; I am privileged; I am oppressed; noblesse oblige;
I am the Great Depression, the Great Society, the Greatest Generation, I am the greatest; I float like a drone and sting like a Stinger;
I am huddled masses yearning to breathe free; I cannot breath; I am a sucker;
I obfuscate, confiscate, conspire, I’m on fire, I’m a liar; vote for me;
I am corruption, deception, disingenuous, double-speak, payola, pay up, pay to play; I am for sale;
I am protest marches, sit-ins, occupy Wall Street; for what it’s worth;
I am blissfully ignorant; I am a man of science and I am a man of religion and never the twain shall meet;
I am the Unknown Soldier, I am unimaginable courage; I am extraordinary bravery; I am the bonus army – why do you shoot at me father? Do you want to live forever?
I am Gettysburg and Andersonville; I fool some of the people all of the time; I am torn asunder;
I am lifted by the rapture, but you will not be;
I lift up my lamp; I lift up my skirt; you will know it when you see it; see no evil; send them back where they came from;
I am Manifest Destiny, San Juan Hill, the 38th parallel, and Tet offensive, no offense meant;
I play by the rules; Nice guys finish last; I am the best government money can buy;
I am Tammany Hall and big city political machines; the whole world is watching;
I am Valley Forge; I am the Dust Bowl; This land is my land and all mine; this land is gerrymandered;
I am red state, blue state, my state, your state; I pick my voters;
I am Birchers and birthers; I am the Stars and Bars; I am Gone With the Wind;
I am gone in a flash, gone in 60 seconds, going, going, gone; Sold American;
Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?
I am the kindness of strangers;
I am tolerant; I am compassionate; I am a dreamer; I am Big Brother; I am watching you;
I am impoverished; I am greedy; I am lazy; I am hard working; I am inventive; I fool all of the people some of the time; I am an opiate for the masses;
I am the War Department; No, I am the Department of Defense, give me money;
I am hungry, give me more; I am the tax man;
I am the Constitution; I am Gideon; I am Miranda; I am the Bill of Rights, yeah, right;
I am a survivor; I rise above the worst of me, eventually; I am delusional;
I am I said;
I am what I am.

Alan Acker is an attorney in Columbus, Ohio, who enjoys contemplating and writing about political, philosophical, and religious issues. Mr. Acker has published "Thirteen Truths About God and Life: Deeper Understanding and Deeper Thought" (Brighton Publishing) and writes a blog, The Examined Life (found at alansacker.blogspot.com). Mr. Acker is married to Lillian and they have four children and (currently) three grandchildren.