Who knew the world would get so messed up
That the enlightened ones among us
Would hide behind books and pens
While the whole world disrespects itself to the point of crashing down around them?
Who knew that we would lose faith
To the point where the only thing we can all agree to believe in is the grave?
We can no longer unanimously say that a little black latchkey kid on the east side
Can someday grow up to do whatever he wants with his life.
We can no longer all pay homage to the American dream,
Because so many of us have united behind the belief that it’s a lie.
And maybe you’re right.
Maybe Thomas Jefferson never intended for Maria de la Roca from San Juan to be free
Maybe he didn’t really think that she and I and that little black boy up the street
Should have the knowledge and the power to change our family trees,
To start a new generation of kids who know that the world sucks the way it is
But who know that the only hope for life is belief in our ability to change it.
Maybe Abraham Lincoln cared more about the preservation of the Union
Than the freedom of the slaves,
But I promise you that the sharecroppers whose grandkids went to college,
Whose descendants were able to excel in public offices,
Don’t give a damn about motives.
We are just glad things finally changed.
Just two years ago
We were waving our flags, paying our dues,
Believing that America could be beautiful if her president looked, acted, and thought
A bit more like me and you.
And I was one of the worst.
I cried on inauguration day,
And I still hang on to every word that man has to say,
But now I know this:
Things never have and never will change from on high
No matter how bad any god or president wants it.
All sustainable social change must happen in our midst.
So what does that mean?
It means every day you choose to get high when you could be
Writing the lifeline that some small child will pull on to get back on even ground,
You are standing in the way.
Every time I choose to bull shit with my friends,
When I could be studying thoughts that will be the hands
That pull my people up out of their defeatist trends,
I am wasting time.
Whenever those who can do not
They strip others of the ability to be able.
Every time we choose to eat in the kitchen when company comes
We give up our right to sit at the table.
Obama can not free us; he could only free himself and he did.
Your words turned into poetic sentences,
Your arms turned into hugs for the fatherless
Are your contribution to a generation that has got to learn how to use our resources.
Teach a child to read,
so that he can write his way into college and off of the street.
Teach her to build up her strength,
So she learns to say “no” and she can make it to the top
By doing things her own way.
I’m not asking you to believe in God or the presidency.
But I’m begging you to believe in what society could be,
Or at least to pretend like you do,
So that they can.