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Dear America X

Evergreen trees bordering a meandering lake / river
Photo by Mathilda Khoo on Unsplash

Dear America,

Regardless of who wins the election, we the people have work to do.

No president has the power to unify this country. It is up to people like you and me understanding that we truly are in this together. We as a country benefit when we make choices from a place of love and compassion. When we choose to treat each other with respect and when we choose to make changes when we are the impediment to freedom and justice for all.

This country is nowhere near perfect and never has been. We cannot even claim greatness if we're totally honest. Oh, we've had some admirable moments but even the promise of America was made while the founders were breaking it. Power and greed are part of the fabric of humanity and the bold experiment that is democracy relies on our collective commitment to stand side by side and defend it.

If you want to join me on my journey to speak love, do love and live love while reminding myself that I am America, please follow us on Instagram. A Better YOU/SA is a project sponsored by USA DUNK Team, the reigning World Champions of Freestyle Dunking, and as hokey and corny as it may seem, I see America as a team aiming for the World Championship. A 330 million member team but a team nonetheless.

In America, we worship sports. We have our favorite teams and players. We understand what it takes on a fundamental level to be a winning team and we expect the players on our favorite team's to adhere to that. Yet, we seem to abandon those principles when it comes to the team's we are members of. Your family is a team. Your job is a team. Your church is a team. Your marriage is a team. Your neighborhood is a team. Your city is a team. Your state is a team. Your country is a team. Are you a team player to your country, or have you splintered off like the players you love to hate who only care about themselves?

The members of USA DUNK who won the World Championship come from all over this country. Wisconsin, Texas, Florida, Boston, Utah, Indiana, California and Chicago. We were focused on working together to win and were willing to make sacrifices in order to do so. It's not like we were are all best friends. We have mutual respect for one another and certainly grew closer as a result of being in the trenches together. That is what working together toward a common goal does to people who are committed to achieving the same objective.

I know, being a member of Team America is not that simplistic. But it's not that far off either. The founding fathers did not circle up and get all kumbaya, they disagreed and they argued and they probably did not come from a place of love all the time. What they did do was create a foundation that has had to be perfected over the decades and still has to be perfected.

One of the differences between Team America and your favorite sports team is we get to pick our coach. Where else do the players get to choose their coach? They may vote on who the team captain is and which player is MVP but your favorite sports team has a coach who was hired not voted into his role by the players. At the very least, we must exercise this hard won privilege and keep playing to the best of our ability to create a more perfect union no matter the outcome.

Being America is messy business and we've had some close calls along the way and almost didn't make it. But, here we are still hanging on somehow, we're battered and bruised and hoping to get through the next few weeks without suffering even more damage. Most of us want peace and opportunity and a future America that our kids and their kids will continue to shape into a more perfect union.

I've been fortunate to be affiliated with 4 championship teams. 3 that were World Champions and 1 that was National Champions. For two of those teams I was the mascot and I witnessed how the players trained and how the coaches provided guidance and how their focus was laser-like in it's intensity. For 1 of those teams I was a member and I participated in the battle. We kept each other focused and on track and were accountable to one another. The other team I coached.

As a coach, I realize there is only so much I can do. I cannot play the game for the team. I can make sure we understand the rules of the game and train so that we play by the rules. I can provide encouragement and direction and correction in the training gym and hope that carries through to the the arena where the game is played.

In all of my championship experiences, it's the players that matter. It's the players that provide each other encouragement when the coach blows off steam. It's the players that are in sync with one another and know where, how and what about their teammates. It's the players that prove a team can win with less than stellar coaching and it's the players that make the coach look good. Most importantly, it's the players who create connections and build each other up and show appreciation to one another and solidify trust and accountability throughout the team even if the coach is not up to the task.

We are the players and we will not win if we are battling each other. We will not win if we don't agree what constitutes winning. We will not win if we are unable to pledge allegiance not to the flag but to each other. This may seem all pie in the sky but I ask you to imagine what America would look like if before you said anything to anyone, you asked yourself "Am I saying this to build him up?

Imagine what America would look like if before you did anything to someone, you asked yourself, "Am I doing this to fill her cup?

Imagine what America would look like if every morning when you woke up you counted all the things that you have to be grateful for and gave thanks.

Imagine what America would look like if you didn't hate yourself so much and had a purpose so that you could Rise up to meet it. True teams do this and it starts with each team member treating themselves with this kind of love. You are the U in USA. We the people choose to be United. Nobody makes that choice for us and we are running out of time.

Decide now to commit. Things will not change over night but over time our love will make things right. We are creating a more perfect union, a better USA, a country where every citizen can proudly feel, deep down in the depths of their being, "I Am America and America is me!"

Saying you love your country while hating the people in it

is like living life by the hour and despising every minute

What a miserable existence that must be for you to cope with

Why not change your mind right now and start using love to hope with

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