Make America great? We’re having trouble just being good. #America #great #trouble #good #englishheadline


We are supposed to be a great nation. But it’s growing more difficult to believe we are even a good one. We routinely throw away people who make us afraid, those we’ve deemed other. We’ve blithely accepted a state of economic inequality not seen since the Gilded Age and an unprecedented level of gun violence against our children.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott referred to Hispanic victims of a mass shooting as “illegal immigrants” instead of humans who tragically were murdered. More than 150,000 migrants amassed this week on our border with Mexico in terrible conditions looking for a chance to save themselves and their families from even worst conditions. The U.S. needs them as much as they need the U.S., and yet we can’t muster up the courage to pass and implement a compromise immigration policy like the one that received 68 votes in the U.S. Senate in 2013. That was a decade ago, when we were closer to good than we are today. Since then, an open embrace of cruelty, even when it comes to the most vulnerable among us, has taken hold.

A live audience at a CNN-sponsored town hall featuring former President Donald Trump mocked a woman who had just successfully sued Trump for sexually assaulting her. No matter the growing number of documented stories about barbaric anti-abortion care laws putting pregnant women’s lives at risk, Republican politicians push forward. The killing of 30-year-old Jordan Neely on the F train in the New York subway on May 1 was a flashpoint like no other. He had been homeless for years, long enough to have been arrested dozens of times, mostly for poverty-related offenses. In this country, poverty is more frequently being treated as a crime and moral failure, not something that should inspire us to remember what Jesus said about what we should do “for the least of these.”

Neely had also been convicted and spent time for physically assaulting people, including for punching a 67-year-old woman in the face and inflicting serious injuries. His past crimes have been repeatedly highlighted to justify his killing though he had not assaulted anyone on the F train that day. Less discussed was why he was suffering and homeless. As a 14-year-old, his mother was murdered by a boyfriend. He apparently never got over the guilt he felt for not having been able to protect her, a guilt I know well. As a young boy, I cowered in the corner of our kitchen watching my father beat my mother. I was frozen with helplessness. It’s not something you ever forget. Neely went from grieving his mother’s murder to being choked to death in the subway then slimed after death as just a criminal who was unworthy of the life snatched from his body. In a country that wanted to be good, not just pat itself on the back as being superficially great, there would be fewer Neelys in the wealthiest nation ever created, even fewer Americans who would excuse or justify what happened to him.

Closer to home, in South Carolina, I’ve watched the victims of gun violence be all but dismissed after routine but brief bouts of “thoughts and prayers.” Tens of thousands of Americans are needlessly slaughtered every year because we worship the gun more than we love fellow children of God. I’ve grown frustrated by our indifference. Fortunately, there are others still in the fight. Horry County Moms Demand Action will be holding an event at 2 p.m. Monday, May 15 at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Conway, then head to the Conway courthouse for a National Gun Violence Awareness Day Proclamation presented by Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy.

They’ll be honoring survivors of gun violence and those killed by firearms. It won’t solve the enormous challenge we face on that issue and so many others. But it will be a small step back in the right direction of trying to make America good again.

Issac Bailey is a McClatchy Opinion writer based in Myrtle Beach.

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