“America is More Than a Place” — (Original) Poem
By Ben Neuberger
The strength of this country doesn’t just come from the force of our might;
Or the power of our bite
It comes from what we represent
And the horrors we choose to prevent.
Our power isn’t defined by the weapons at our disposal,
Our power is defined by how we choose to use them
So with that, I’d like to make a proposal.
We aren’t strong, Just because of what we possess,
We’re strong because of who we are and how we’ve progressed.
Our prosperity isn’t just a product of where we’ve been and what we’ve overcome,
it’s a sign of what we can become.
America is more than a place,
It’s an idea worthy of embrace.
This land was meant for more than just you and me…
Beyond he and she
America is for people trying to become free,
For those who need a degree
And those who seek a better life
One without misery, one without strife
They come here
With their children and with their wife
All because they want a better way of life
One that’s not threatened by corruption or the edge of a knife.
There’s a reason people choose us above any other
We were founded by those who refused to shudder
By those who fought with every breath
Just so they could be free, despite the face of death.
We’re the only nation that has insisted we can do better
Perhaps that is why I am writing this letter
To remind those who have forgotten
That we should never be like those who controlled all the cotton
To be better means to treat those with the utmost respect
Without any prejudice or bias and without neglect.
Because We’re all Americans with the same goal in mind
We’re Just searching for a better mankind.
But creating a perfect union like we’ve discussed
It’s an ideal destined to bust
Although it’s never too late for us to adjust
It’s important to know that perfection is an unobtainable state
The goal isn’t perfection
The goal is less hate
The intent is to improve as many lives as we can
There is no other objective, this is the only plan.
Now, there’s something I’d like to say
You’re our equal in every which way
I don’t care how you pray
I don’t care if you’re gay
I don’t care if the color of your skin is brown, black or grey
You shouldn’t have to be society’s prey
But to this day,
Those who see you as less
They’re the ones playing checkers
While the rest are playing chess
Because with time comes something inspiring
Progress that’s never tiring
The People with backwater ideals
They might dig in their heels
But sooner or later, time will do its thing
Hopefully, in the way preached by Dr. Luther King
We will no longer tolerate racist notions by any means
Nor will we see others based solely on their genes
We will strive for kindness and compassion, perspective and common ground
This is far from impossible, it’s just a far bound
But united in this common endeavor
The ties of racism are something we can sever
It’s not enough to say never say never
One must become truly better
After all, Human progress is measured by only one thing
The value we place on a life,
Especially A life that’s considered inconsequential
According to a world that doesn’t question their potential
To see others as we hope to be seen
To treat others as we hope to be treated
These aren’t just the golden rules we’re taught when we’re young
They are the laws that bind us together as one.
Change will come if it is demanded
But It isn’t something that can be handed
It requires a united voice
And an essential choice
To be a part of reform that represents the end of oppression
It is for those who are faced with societal suppression
Which is why they require social progression
This is the right thing to do, and that’s the only reason we need
This endeavor is too important…I know this because people will lead
They’ll plead, and they’ll bleed
Just like those in the past
The Activists who massed
When the Protests were vast
They were the sound of the alarm that woke everybody up
To acknowledge racial inequality and how it’s corrupt
They won their fight because it was a united endeavor
Striving for something that’ll last forever
A change occurred to our nation’s morality
After equality was made a matter of legality
Bringing an end to generations of accepted brutality
With the introduction of a new normality,
Created a society with a newfound vitality
One that transformed our perceptions of reality
Into not discerning supremacy with nationality
We were the good guys, that was our mentality
The world saw first-hand what a racist nation accomplished
After 6 million Jews were killed and their lives were abolished
All because one man decided to adopt racist beliefs rooted in fiction
Because he saw his defeated nation was in need of conviction
So, in an effort to unify the majority
He made an infliction on the nation’s minority
Making them the enemy they could all detest
As a means to Restore the idea that they were chosen and blessed
Because otherwise, they’d be under arrest
Thrown into a cage with the gas they’d ingest
We see them as evil because of what they did and what they represented
We know their ideals were insanely demented
And they had no remorse for those they tormented.
In their eyes, Each was an abomination
And, therefore, due for damnation
But just like a lot of racism it had its duration.
The good guys prevailed
Freedom overcame oppression
We saw that evil is ethnic digression
And with that, it raises a very important question
How can we further our own racial progression?
Just because something is better than it was — Doesn’t mean it can’t be better than it is
Progress is continual
Because it’s habitual
History has shown, that regressive ideals are destined to mature
Because progress is the product of time and, so, time is its cure.
Racism is a wheel, and with its destruction
This nation could be the ideal
We could be the example that others will follow
We could heal so many who have grown hallow.
This mission isn’t just about saving our soul…it’s about making sure others remain whole.
It’s about the future we wanna create, so why wait…why not start now…
why not build a world based on a vow…
We are all different, yet we’re the same
No matter the nation, no matter the face
We’re all human…We’re one race
This is the truth that we need to embrace.
No matter where you come from you…there is no shame
That is not our aim…We should celebrate what makes us unique…
That’s what makes us human. Understanding that, that is the peak…
We’re not less because of how we are bred
It’s all about the life we’ve led…
When you look back on the kindness you’ve spread
Are others better off because you intervened?
Did you step up against every single fiend?…
How do you stop those from preying on people’s pain?
You simply change the rules of the game
With enough people, with a loud enough voice
You can force a choice
To support a noble endeavor
That’ll last a lifetime, which no one can sever.
It is the venture to fulfill this country’s oldest dream
Of a United Nation with a peaceful society
Where people act with a moral propriety
All while possessing all kinds of variety
Where we don’t judge each other for the things we can’t control
Because that isn’t what defines a person’s soul
We’re all born different, but we all start the same,
With a blank slate, playing the same game
While some are born at an advantage
The divide between those who aren’t is something we need to manage.
(So), The first step to solving any problem, is first recognizing there is one.
Our work is not done, nor will it be, by using a gun
We need to do better, as a people, and as a nation
Spreading moral reform, that is our station
Building a world for everyone to thrive
That should be our drive
Because…America is more than a place
It’s an idea that we need to embrace.