Swear me in why don't you I’ve been watching from the sidelines for too long We let the players skirt the boundary lines, we ignore every foul Every time their words travelled further than their complacency Every time we are forced to watch as the clocks runs out To be patient as the sweat scorches all of our faces, Burns our eyes because we’re too busy carrying the game to wipe them Why not just swear me in? Really, it’s an honest question You don’t have to be thirty five to lie to people Hand me the wheel instead, and I’ll see what I can maneuver I may not have enough money to avoid my taxes, Not sure if speaking full sentences and being able to read a dictionary Is a requirement anymore But no matter, I can do that either way It can’t be too hard of a job I mean we did without it for four years Four years Four years to realize nothing he said Had enough weight to survive being thrown against a current Every word would get picked up by the wind And taken away to some dark American corner of unsightlies His KKKers are festering in With their hypocritical loyalty to patriotism and treason Swear me in why don’t you, It’s just America The country that prides itself on never being invaded... until it invaded itself Yeah, no foreign enemies might have made it to the capital But thirty year old Reddit connoisseurs who still frequent their parents basement Or who are probably late for a knee replacement Or who haven’t stopped suckling long enough to grow in their teeth Are more militant than the millions of immigrants you swore would be the ones Who made a mockery of strength and a joke of patriotism More powerful than all the Muslims you stop before planes All the Black men and women you lock away in cells or premature graves But I guess if we’re being reasonable, Patriotic, even We’d have more patience with the lack of defense. After all, it would be far too much to expect the police too defend the capital When they were the ones storming it Anyone who know better should be staring at the screen And wondering why the stormers aren’t Mexican, You would think so from the hysteria in 2016 The way we cried bloody murder at the borders While we committed bloody murder in the streets I just want to know how you can lick the boot of the three richest tax evaders The president, being another, no less And then act like you care if immigrants pay their fair share Why you protect the rich with empty pockets, I’ll never get Just to wonder what would have happened if the stormers were Black If rioters were Black If the looter that stole that Congressman's laptop was Black If the terrorists were Black Wondering like I don't remember when the protesters were Black When Black lives, not livelihoods, were at stake Protesters being beaten, tear gassed, intimidated, trapped Protesters who were beaten down for speaking, standing, existing Protesters who were Black but Who were Black women Who were old Who were children First amendment users Citizens 20 Black kids in a park To four police cars, a police van, and detectives But no, the 686 million dollars we allotted on defense Was no match for stupidity No match for confronting the ugly truths that to you, Only amount to old Confederate relics Which receive more recognizance than the mass graves they were fighting to fill Unholy truths have evolved from the measly paragraph teachers have us skim read in history classes But to me Amounts to structures, cultures, people Nay, heroes Hold on to your favorite celebrity if you must so long as you plug your ears and pretend not to hear the echoes of their indiscretions Their human rage, digested hatred, inherited ignorance from Disney spin-offs and Labor Day sales To secluded internet forums Bound to convict them in the court of Faux-Culture How can you cancel someone from a culture Which bred the unsightlies you now shame them for? I ought to give you some handcuffs Like an air mask on the plane Put them on yourself before you put them on your children Looking at some of them makes me think: “Well, where are the slave-catchers?” The protect and servers Who did neither when they chased after the slaves Before they were freed, or freed themselves rather, Because ain’t it awkward how at the very least, no one ever talks about how in the hell we got off the plantations Then I look at the sweatshops, the work days with crappy pay The cycle of poverty, homeless, and flimsy healthcare The Black trans sex workers who die for the work they do everyday The same people they work for, they die from And I doubt whether we ever left Swear me in, I built the country anyway How else could America still look so shiny, As if we ever left the gilded age, Income inequality has only gotten worse Worse for white people too, yes Sorry, I have to say that to keep your attention Mine is well occupied My eyes are on the police, my heart with the victims, my hands with others who are ready to use them And your attention is on your phone screen You can post all the MLK quotes and praise Boseman you please (RIP) But Shakur said we have a duty to fight for our freedom, Not a duty to tweet For all the power in visibility, so is there in distraction So is there in inaction You might tweet, like, save, share, repeat While my brothers and sisters are dying in the street But you can close your phone screen, hide the world when you’d rather not see it And criticize the ones who don’t like your feed Like everyday isn’t a revolution in my skin And a privilege in yours Don’t look at how I live when you can’t see what it took for me to wake up And I cannot stress this enough Let’s not make Biden a martyr for the cause, a speaker for the people Let’s remember that democracy and the Democratic Party are not synonymous One means social equality, Speaking for those who need And the other only does so conditionally Am I suppose to start standing up for the flag now? When does the flag stand up for me? There’s a reason we can’t be free when the Black women isn’t While we can celebrate the death of a reigning idiot In favor of a more palatable ‘not racist’ But then turn around and look at who we elected Great a rapist for president Is it indicative that this is the lesser of our two evils Why we’d rather pick the racist over the woman to begin with? A couple emails were worth surrendering the country but not Sexual assault allegations, discrimination law suits, … an empty resume Why can we not respect women? Why is it only #MeToo on condition? Can we have a news source that doesn’t lie when it’s convenient? Why is Tara Reade the only one that has to prove it? And then there’s the pandemic The studio, full coverage lighting To everything shameful about American freedom Every Asian and Asian American spit on for bringing the ‘China Flu’ That the US is so intent on propagating Every Jewish life threatened or lost by a history intent on gripping their ankles Neighbors too blind with hatred, resentment and hypocrisy To recognize the irony Every disproportionate amount of Black and Latinx and indigenous Lives lost or shaken By inhumane healthcare system And people who couldn’t care to take caution Every person sitting on more money than they could spend While others scrape for every coin they could have Every person who is too different to feel worth it This is full coverage lighting Your spotlight to tell America Just how much freedom it gave you And just how much it took along with it America do you refuse to hear or were you never listening? How long can you pretend your cotton isn’t washed with blood? Your flag sown with the pain which bred it Freedom glazed in the sweat of every broken back that carried it to the edge of the world and back before it could ever be missed Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness A more perfect union Four score and seven years ago I had a dream that your words meant something That I can turn on the news and trust what I see That I can say what I mean, be who I am and that will be enough This is a nightmare America, Swear me in A fool's done the job and left us in shambles I’m not so sure about the next guy They don’t look like Obama And they look even farther away from me America Swear me in I have lived my life and that’s more than the last guy can say.
Christel Robinson is a writer, actor, visual artist, and social activist. She is an alumni of the MCC Theater Company’s Youth Performance lab and is currently a member of their Playwriting lab. She is also a First-year Psychology and Performing Media Arts major student at the College of Arts and Sciences of Cornell University. Christel graduated from Bard High School Early College II in 2020.