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I Had A Dream About America

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I had a dream last night. It was striking in its realism and depth, so much so that I woke up wondering if it had really happened. It was like a movie, or a dream of a movie. Anyway, in this dream of a movie about America, some enemy, in the dream I never saw their faces, so I guess it doesn't matter which enemy really, but some enemy invaded. They were on the ground, among us, in our towns and cities and neighborhoods and churches. Before we even knew what had happened, there they were, killing indiscriminately. Everywhere they went they killed. Old people, young people, it didn't matter, people were dying everywhere.

Ultimately, true to our nation's military might, this enemy was vanquished. For the first time our country had seen warfare up close and personal. The destruction was everywhere but it was the death that mattered most. It was the loss of family and community that people really struggled with. Survivors who had been at school or church or work or in the hospital were kept there, other survivors were sent to these places as well. For days we were counseled and ask questions about what we saw, how we felt, what we thought we would do now. The thought process was that after a few days we would all be ok and allowed to return to our homes and sort out what was left of our previous lives.

Yet after several days of discussing our experiences and how we felt about them, we found our schools and other institutions were surrounded by fences. Row after row of fence lines had been set up, because the plan wasn't for us to able to go home. Your homes are gone now, the government representatives, teachers, and counselors told us. There is nothing but death and destruction out there so it's best that you stay here where we can take care of you. This apparently had all been planned out in advance, through some previous experiences.

But a funny thing happened when this realization set in. While a very few were willing to be told what to do and how to live, most of the adults and older children refused such an idea or representation of life. Later even the young ones threw themselves against the fences and demanded to go home. Everyone it seemed wanted to go, no matter how bad it was, to see the carnage, bury their dead, and find a way to build anew. Everyone seemed to instinctively know that no matter how bad it was, a life of freedom with all its dangers and snares, was better than one of dependency. So men and women, adults and children began to push through the gates and fences, one row at a time. At the last line of fences, the teachers and cops and politicians who had taught us about the pledge of allegiance and the statue of liberty and all the accoutrements of freedom, they stood there with automatic rifles, ready to kill us instead of allowing us the difficulties of freedom. But even that only worked for a little while. After killing so many neighbors and friends and children in the name of freedom our protectors realized the folly of their thinking, put down their guns and allowed everyone to go home, no matter how hard going home might have been.

And then it occurred to me that this most certainly was an Indian movie. We've seen our loved ones killed up close and personal. We've been taken here and there and placed where it was best for us. We've been told we couldn't go home because home was no longer good for us. We've been told which ceremonies were good and bad, which language was good and bad, which sort of lives we should live. We've watched and still watch our babies taken out of our homes by a government that knows better than thousands of years of culture born of survival and communion with the Earth. We know about fences. Rows and rows of fences.

While I was being poked and prodded, Before I demanded to go back home so I could live my flawed life once again, someone asked me if I suffered from depression. Well, hell yeah I suffer from depression, I'm an Indian you idiot. All Indians suffer from depression, if we didn't we'd be psycopaths by definition. I bet if you could read my DNA it would be right there, in big......fat.... italics, DEPRESSION. Of course there would be other words too. RAGE....CONFUSION.....and finally, LAUGHTER. Laughter I suppose is the final step of surviving genocide. You can ask any Indian, or any Jew, or Palestinian, or Armenian. But these words I suppose are the four pillars to survival. To be honest, they have been for me. I suppose they always will be, no matter how much I talk about my feelings.

So at the end of this Indian movie, people returned home, buried their dead, made new lives, found new mates, and made more babies. It's what we Indians have always done, and I suppose it's what we always will do. We will endure, and outlast. We will survive. Eventually, we will thrive again. Along the way, we'll cry, and drink, and drug, and fight, and wander around a little confused, but in the end, we'll succeed. We'll be beautiful again. We'll sing and dance and laugh. We'll raise our own babies with our own understanding of life. We will be who God made us to be. I guess that was the lesson from this thing. After all, it was only a dream. But man, it sure seemed real.



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