Happy Birthday America: A Short Killjoy Rant by a Trans Immigrant

Happy Birthday to a nation founded in 1776 on slavery, colonialism, imperialism and genocide!

239 years later, many of these principles still exist but in different forms, such as anti-black police brutality, the prison industrial complex and white xenophobic supremacy here and abroad masked as "spreading democracy." This is a nation developed on stolen land by racist, sexist Europeans, the ancestors of citizens who now tell others to "go back to your own country."

As we recite the Pledge of Allegiance and remind religious and spiritual minority communities that this is "one Nation under [a Christian] God," remember that liberty and justice is reserved only for those who resemble the Founding Fathers. Remember that "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" as outlined in the Declaration of Independence are meant solely for the elite. Remember that the false myth of "all men are created equal" is a consistent ploy to distract the nation, marketing Equality and Assimilation to marginalized populations as more appealing than Liberation and Freedom. Remember that we're "number one" in all the wrong ways...

Are we truly the "land of the free" when so many people living and working within our borders have little to no access to clean water, food, shelter, medical care, employment or other resources? Are all people free when black and brown bodies are still devalued, exploited, beaten and murdered daily without accountability or justice? Are we truly the "home of the brave" when so few are willing to stand in solidarity with oppressed communities and end the injustices plaguing our own nation? Are we brave when we turn our heads to high rates of sexual assault and battery against women and femmes, and ignore the widespread killings of trans women of color? Can one truly say the phrase "I'm proud to be American" without it holding similar cultural and historical weight as saying "I support the Confederate Flag?"