I have a tortured relationship with social media. I still have a FB account but only find myself on it when I receive a link to retrieve some information I need. I removed the app from my phone at the beginning of the pandemic but I would still post links from my laptop that would direct FB friends to essays I posted on Medium or my website. Writing was my way of staying sane with all the crazy happening in the world. I fancied myself as a renegade who’s love for America specifically and humanity in general, could help guide us to a place where we realize our common needs are the foundation for treating each other with compassion and empathy. It was around October of 2020 leading up to the US election that I was inspired to write a love-letter to America. I was overwhelmed with all of these ideas of how I could manifest this inspiration. As things became even crazier in America after the election and leading up to the inauguration, I was writing letters warning America. After January 6th, I came to the realization that there was no better thing I could be doing with my talent and my time than helping to mend the divisions that exist in America through my writing. I understood that this journey would be choppy because the battle was being waged in many ways on social media and specifically FB. I had reached the conclusion that if there was a hell on earth, FB was it and I refused to go to hell because I might not be able to climb back out. TikTok, which is hugely popular and much more addictive, was an appealing option but I object so completely to the attention sucking nature of it that I have never downloaded the app and probably never will. I decided I needed to create easily digestible video morsels of encouragement that educated, enlightened and inspired the reader/listener and Instagram was the platform I chose. While Instagram is FB's sister, she's a stepsister without all the evil DNA. I went to work. Since sport can be a means to unify, I decided to do this work as an outreach of USA DUNK. “A better YOUSA" became the name of the project and it was the outgrowth of an essay I wrote about America being a team. This essay asked the question, “If America is a team, what sport are we playing?” There were other elements of the project, some corny, some quirky but all from a place of love.
My enthusiasm for the project didn’t last long. In early February of 2021, I began to wonder if it was too late and if I was too naive. It became clear that I loved America more than she loved herself, if she loved herself at all. I think there are millions of Americans that love themselves and mistake that for loving America. I began to wonder if I was one of them. What was I willing to sacrifice for the benefit of the team? Was I willing to sit on the bench while those who had more to offer the team got in the game? Or maybe the metaphor itself just needed to be revised? America, a team? I had work to do myself before I could take on a project with such high hopes. It’s been over a year now since I abandoned that project. I still haven’t figured out the role I ought to play. I do know that I have something to contribute. I am still hopeful that we as countrymen can overcome our divisions. While writing this I came across one of the Instagram posts that brought me to tears when it came through me over a year ago. Watching it after such a long time inspired me to lace up and get in the game once again, albeit with a one step at a time mentality.
Watch it with the sound on and maybe it will inspire you. I remain hopeful and grateful!